COLUMBUS - Ohio State junior cornerback Donald Washington took it up to the final moments before making a decision on a declaration for the NFL draft but when the deadline finally hit the Indianapolis (Ind.) native decided that his time had finally come.
"I'm very excited to take the next step and pursue my dream of playing in the National Football League, but it has been a difficult and emotional decision," Washington said in a statement.
Washington came to Ohio State under most people's radar as a 2-star prospect and after redshirting his first season came onto the stage in 2006 with a fumble recovery at Texas that he took back for 48 yards. During Washington's Ohio State career he picked off a pair of passes and racked up 99 total tackles, forced two fumbles and had four pass breakups.
"I thank Coach Tressel and all those within the OSU football program for creating such a terrific environment for me to succeed both athletically and academically," Washington said. "I have had tremendous experiences at Ohio State and at Franklin Central High School with Coach Lance Scheib, who continues to be an integral part of my life."
Washington will join a large contingent of Buckeyes who are leaving the program with more than two dozen seniors already leaving and fellow juniors Chris Wells and Brian Hartline.
"I will especially, and most importantly, miss all of my teammates and brothers," Washington said. "I wish them nothing but the best and continued success."
Donald's time in Columbus was not without problems as well as Donald missed the first two games of the 2008 season after being suspended for a second time. Washington's time in the doghouse could have played a role in his decision to bolt before his junior season but there is no time to dwell on the negative for Washington and now is just a time to get ready for taking his game to the next level.
"I would also like to give my word that I will uphold the Buckeye tradition of doing my best off the field, as well as my best in competing with the premier athletes around the world on the field in the NFL," Washington said.
Donald is on track to graduate in June with a degree in communications.