Ohio State star cornerback Shaun Wade announced on September 14 that he is opting out of his senior season and will instead prepare for the NFL draft.
Wade decided to forgo his last year of eligibility with the Buckeyes and move on to the NFL as the prospects of a 2020 Big Ten season are still up in the air.
“I came back to get my degree and to play another season and win a national championship,” Wade said. “But when the Big Ten canceled, I was focused on still playing, but I felt like they were holding off for so long I thought it was the best decision for me to declare for the draft and just go on with preparing and getting ready for the draft.”
A preseason All-American, Wade was listed as the number 7 overall prospect on Mel Kiper Jr.’s Big Board in early September. He was also projected to be an early-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft but opted to come back to Ohio State for another season.
A big factor in Wade’s decision to return was to graduate and earn his degree, which he was able to accomplish in July. In early August, he told reporters that he did not regret his decision to come back to Ohio State and did not have any thoughts of opting out at the time.
However, in early September, Wade decided it was time to move on from the Buckeyes.
“When they ended up canceling the season, I was in contact with [defensive coordinator] Coach [Kerry] Coombs, Coach [Ryan] Day and Gene Smith, our AD, every day about the season. Then every time they said they were going to vote, the Big Ten was pushing everything back,” Wade said. “I was being patient, but it was a time-consuming thing and time doesn’t wait on no man, so I felt it was the right decision. We talked every day about what was going on behind the scenes, but time was ticking.”
Wade’s father, Randy, has been vocal in trying to get the Big Ten to reverse its decision to postpone the fall football season. His father organized a protest at Big Ten conference headquarters with a group of other parents regarding the matter.
“It was for the Big Ten in general because he understands some kids don’t have the same resources they have in college at home. He knows if we don’t play football, some kids are going to go down the wrong path,” Wade said in regard to the protest. “That’s just the type of parent my dad is. He wants kids to do better and strive for greatness. If kids play in the fall, it will be a perfect thing for kids.
“I know he’s disappointed, but at the end of the day, he has to worry about me, and we have to move on.”
There is a chance that the Big Ten presidents and chancellors could vote on a starting date for the 2020 season as early as the week of September 14 after meetings over the previous weekend. Wade, however, said he felt he has waited long enough and isn’t looking back on his decision.
“When I talked to [Ohio State coaches about a potential vote] they still had no clarity, there was no clarity with the players, the coaches and the parents,” Wade said. “That was another thing. With no clarity, you just don’t know what’s going to go on, so that was the main decision, that there was no clarity and I’m good either way.”
Wade has been named a team captain for the Buckeyes for the upcoming season, whenever it was scheduled to be played. He is the second Ohio State player to opt-out of the 2020 season after offensive lineman Wyatt Davis did the same on September 11.