The Senior Bowl announced early Thursday evening that Ohio State senior defensive end Tyreke Smith has accepted an invite to the 2022 Senior Bowl, which will be played February 5.

The acceptance of the invite would seem to indicate that Smith will forego the extra year of eligibility he has and begin his track to professional football. Thayer Munford accepted an invite last year and still decided to return, but that was a rather rare occurrence.

When healthy, Smith has been the Buckeyes’ most disruptive defensive end the last two seasons. He has posted 25 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, and 3.0 sacks this season. It has been his most productive season as a Buckeye despite missing three games.

Smith played in 11 games as a freshman, 11 as a sophomore, and seven last year. He has 55 career tackles, 12 career tackles for loss, and eight career sacks.

If Smith does turn pro after the season, he may not be the only Buckeye defensive end to say goodbye. Ohio State is still waiting word on junior Zach Harrison’s decision.

Without Smith, the Buckeyes would still return a number of experienced defensive ends next year, including the possibility of Harrison. Javontae Jean-Baptiste and Tyler Friday would be entering their fifth years as Buckeyes. JT Tuimoloau and Jack Sawyer have had promising freshman years this season. Second-year players like Darrion Henry-Young and Jacolbe Cowan could get more involved. And there will be a couple of new arrivals via the 2022 recruiting class, including Florida Gatorade Player of the Year Kenyatta Jackson and possibly more.

Ohio State tight end Jeremy Ruckert has also previously accepted an invite to February’s Senior Bowl.

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