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Buckeyes safety Tanner McCalister declares for NFL Draft

Andy Backstrom01/09/23
Article written by:On3 imageAndy Backstrom


On3 image
Tanner McCalister had an interception for Ohio State against Wisconsin. (Matt Parker/Lettermen Row)

COLUMBUS — Safety Tanner McCalister followed defensive coordinator Jim Knowles to Ohio State last offseason for a shot at the College Football Playoff after sniffing the four-team field in his final season at Oklahoma State.

Although the Buckeyes’ season ended in heartbreaking fashion in the Peach Bowl semifinal, McCalister did reach the CFP, and now he’s ready for the next step of his career.

McCalister announced on social media that he has declared for this year’s NFL Draft.

“First! I would like to thank my Lord and savior Jesus Christ for giving me the ability and opportunity to earn a college degree while also playing college football,” McCalister wrote in a statement. “Thank you to my mother, family and friends who have helped me get to where I am today.”

McCalister continued: “Thank you Oklahoma State University and The Ohio State University for giving me the opportunity to represent the universities colors on the field. I am excited and prepared for the next steps in my life due to my journey the past five years.”

McCalister used his final year of eligibility this season to play for the Buckeyes. Before that, he played four seasons with Oklahoma State, where he was a regular starter for the 2020 and 2021 campaigns.

The Rockwall, Texas, native started his college career as a cornerback but moved to safety ahead of his junior season. McCalister rounded out his four years with the Cowboys with 26 starts, 24 of which were consecutive. He piled up 125 tackles and 12 pass break-ups at Oklahoma State.

This season for Ohio State, McCalister was responsible for three of the team’s 11 interceptions. McCalister picked off a pass against Wisconsin and returned it 30 yards. Then he had two interceptions versus Iowa. He also finished the year with 20 solo tackles and one PBU.

McCalister’s Pro Football Focus grades weren’t anything to write home about. He actually logged the second-lowest PFF defensive grade (61.3) of his career in 2022. But he didn’t allow a touchdown pass and yielded 11.2 yards per reception as well as a NFL passer rating against of 56.7, per PFF.

Ohio State will have some holes to fill at safety. Before the Michigan game, Ronnie Hickman revealed that he plans to declare for this year’s NFL Draft, too.

The Buckeyes did, however, add Syracuse transfer Ja’Had Carter last week.