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January 8, 1999

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Andy Katzenmoyer, the first freshman to start at%^$linebacker for Ohio State, will skip his senior season to be available for the%^$NFL draft, the school said Friday.

%^$ Ohio State’s athletics department confirmed Katzenmoyer’s decision with a%^$release Friday night. The release said Katzenmoyer was not available for%^$comment.

%^$ Defensive coordinator Fred Pagac said Katzenmoyer told him that he notified%^$the NFL of his decision. Friday was the deadline for underclassmen to declare%^$their intentions of being included in the draft.

%^$ Katzenmoyer, a 6-foot-4, 255-pounder known for his jarring hits, is the%^$second Buckeye this week to jump to the pros.

%^$ On Wednesday, Ohio State’s record-setting wide receiver, David Boston,%^$announced he would give up his senior season.

%^$ The decisions by Katzenmoyer and Boston raised to 12 the number of%^$underclassmen who have given up at least one year of eligibility to throw their%^$names into the NFL draft since 1992.

%^$ Katzenmoyer didn’t tell Pagac why he would not return for his senior season.

%^$ “He didn’t elaborate on his decision. He and his parents talked it over,”%^$Pagac said.

%^$ Katzenmoyer has complained of media coverage and has not spoken to reporters%^$for months. A telephone number for him could not be found.

%^$ Katzenmoyer, dubbed “The Big Kat,” became one of the most recognizable%^$Buckeyes after he was selected as the first defensive player to earn Associated%^$Press Mr. Football honors as a senior at suburban Westerville South High%^$School.

%^$ He asked for and received jersey No. 45. No Buckeye player had worn that%^$number since Archie Griffin wore it to become the only two-time Heisman Trophy%^$winner in 1974 and 1975.

%^$ Katzenmoyer started all 12 games as a freshman for the Buckeyes, recording%^$23 tackles for negative yardage, including 12 sacks. He also intercepted four%^$passes.

%^$ Although his numbers fell off somewhat the next two seasons, he was still a%^$first-team All-America selection in 1997 and became the first sophomore to%^$receive the Butkus Award, given annually to the nation’s top linebacker.

%^$ As a junior this past fall, he was dropped to second-team All-Big Ten by the%^$conference coaches behind teammate Na’il Diggs.

%^$ Pagac said Katzenmoyer will be tough to replace.

%^$ “He’s a great football player. He’s a great young man,” Pagac said.%^$