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Gibson to bypass final year

COLUMBUS — Defensive end Thaddeus Gibson will forgo his final year at Ohio State to make himself available for the NFL draft in April.

Saying he had “grown a lot from his experience at Ohio State,” Gibson said the Buckeyes’ victory over Oregon in the Rose Bowl was one of the most memorable moments of his college career.

Gibson recorded 82 tackles during his three years with the Buckeyes. He led the team with 13 tackles for losses this season, including four sacks. He also recovered two fumbles, forced two fumbles and had an interception.

A 6-foot-2, 240-pounder from Euclid, Ohio, Gibson started 23 games at Ohio State. He is scheduled to graduate in June with a bachelor’s degree in African-American Studies.

“I am not leaving the Buckeye family,” Gibson said in an e-mail statement released through Ohio State’s sports information office. “I wish the team the very best in the upcoming years and I thank all my teammates for all their support. … I will always bleed scarlet and gray.”

He had three sacks — one short of the Ohio State record — and recovered a fumble as the Buckeyes beat Minnesota to start a six-game winning streak to end the season.

Ohio State got good news from two other standout juniors. Defensive end Cameron Heyward and cornerback Chimdi Chekwa both announced Tuesday that they will return to the Buckeyes next season.