Jan. 8, 2001

%^$COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State junior cornerback Nate Clements has announced he will forgo his final year of eligibility and make himself eligible for the NFL draft.%^$

%^$The 5-11, 190-pound Clements started all 12 games this year at cover corner and was credited with 68 total tackles, including 60 solo stops. He also had four interceptions and a team high 13 passes broken up. Clements, from Shaker Heights, Ohio, also returned punts and averaged 13.1 yards per runback during the regular season.%^$

%^$A two-year starter, Clements closed out his career with 177 tackles, 24 passes broken up and seven interceptions.%^$

%^$”I love The Ohio State University, however, my dream has always been to play football at the highest level of competition,” Clements said. “Therefore, I am petitioning for special eligibility in this year’s National Football League draft.”%^$

%^$Clements is the second Ohio State underclassman to make himself eligible for the upcoming draft. Defensive tackle Ryan Pickett, a junior from Zephyrhills, Fla., announced last week that he pass up his senior year in favor of the NFL. Pickett, also a two-year starter, finished the current season with 39 tackles, including six tackles for loss. He closes out his career with 109 tackles, including a career-high 48 in 1999. The 6-3, 290-pound Pickett also had 20 career tackles for loss.