First and foremost, I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for blessing me with health, favor and opportunity.
To my family, thank you for laying the foundation on which I stand. Through all the uncertainties one thing was always certain, our love for one another. Thank you for always believing and supporting me.
To my teammates, coaches, strength staff, nutritionists, academic advisors, support team, and everyone that works at the WHAC, thank you for building that young 18 year old redshirt into the man that I am today.
To Buckeye Nation, it's been a helluva ride. To the students, alumni, and all of THE Ohio State fans, thank you for welcoming a kid from Cali into the Buckeye family.
This process has been difficult, and the decision, one of the hardest l've ever had to make. As a kid, I dreamed of playing football at the highest level and after much prayer, l've made the decision that it's time to turn those dreams into a reality.
With that said, I am declaring for 2023 NFL Draft.
This ain't goodbye..Buckeye For Life!
It was always a pipe dream that CJ Stroud might return to Ohio State and play one more season. I mean the guy has a legit shot at being the first overall pick. And even if he isn't selected there he isn't falling outside of the top 5. That's at least $20 Million guaranteed he would be leaving on the table.
There were rumors that a $4 Million NIL deal was waiting if he came back, but instead of returning to try and finally beat Michigan or win a playoff game he opted to grab the big boy cash. In the famous words of Jay-Z, "your money is too young. See me when it gets older."
And let's not pretend like he made the wrong decision. Stroud has proven his skills deserve to not only be at the next level but for an organization to build for their future around him. Most metrics had Georgia as the best defense in the country and Stroud shredded them going 22/34 for 348 yards and 4 TDs. That loss was on Ryan Day, not him.
So coming back to chase a playoff victory would have been chasing fools gold. Now, will it bother him the rest of his life that he never beat Michigan? I don't know. Only he can answer that question. But I do know that if he ever does get a little emotional thinking about those two losses to the school up north, 100 dollar bills make really great tissue paper.
Since Stroud took this all the way down to the wire I believe him when he says this was one of the hardest decisions he has ever had to make. $4 Million is a lot of money to stay in school and push off all the responsibilities he is about to take on in the NFL. But he strikes me as the type of guy who is excited to carry the weight of an NFL franchise on his shoulders.
I mean just look at some of these throws he has made. He's ready.
Good for him and his family. I would have loved to see him come back for one more season and the rumors swirling around the last week that he might actually do it were pretty fun. But just like most things in life, money talks and everything else takes the bus.
I'm hoping he somehow ends up on the Lions and brings them back to relevance. That would be cool as hell. Plus, $20 Million in Detroit is like $200 Billion everywhere else. He could literally own every inch of the city that hasn't already been gobbled up by Dan Gilbert.