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Suspensions could affect players’ decisions to leave early for NFL

The suspension of five Ohio State football players for five games in the 2011 season has complicated the decision of whether those athletes should turn pro early or return to school for their senior seasons.

Quarterback Terrelle Pryor, running back Dan Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey, left tackle Mike Adams and defensive end Solomon Thomas were all suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for selling awards, gifts and university apparel and receiving improper benefits in 2009. All five players are juniors and could avoid their suspensions completely by becoming early entrants in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Freshman Jordan Whiting was also suspended for the first game of the 2011 season.

Earlier this month, OSU coach Jim Tressel said that five OSU underclassmen had turned in paperwork to receive feedback from the NFL regarding where they would likely be selected if they were to enter the draft. Tressel would not say which players turned in the paperwork.

On Thursday, Tressel said that of the players suspended, “one or two” had turned in paperwork seeking feedback from the NFL and that the suspensions could potentially hurt each player’s draft stock.

“I’m not sure this would be the most advantageous time to have a job interview for them,” Tressel said Thursday at a press conference.

The suspended players will weigh the negative publicity attached to the suspensions against the possibility of missing five games of their senior campaign, should the suspensions not be reduced through an OSU appeal.

OSU senior safety Jermale Hines said on his Twitter account that he thinks the suspended players would turn pro.

“I’ll be working out (with) some of my young dudes for the draft,” Hines posted after the suspensions were announced.

The potential loss of a key player, such as Pryor, could also impact the decisions of Buckeyes who are not facing suspensions and are deciding on whether or not to enter the draft. Uncertainty at the quarterback position could discourage players like center Michael Brewster from returning for his senior season.

Earlier this season, Pryor said that he intended to return to OSU for his senior year.

“I just want to get my degree and finish off strong and maybe have an even better year next year and maybe have no losses,” Pryor said before the season. “I love being here. I’m not worried about money and stuff like that.”

ESPN’s Scouts, Inc. lists Posey as the No. 8 receiver and No. 66 overall prospect in the 2011 draft. Both Adams and Herron are coming off strong seasons in which they each were named first-team All-Big Ten.

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