Ohio State All-America CB Denzel Ward sits out Cotton Bowl

FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2016, file photo, Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward, left, knocks the ball away from Nebraska receiver Stanley Morgan during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Columbus, Ohio. All-American cornerback Ward could depart early to enter the NFL draft. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon, File)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Ohio State All-America cornerback and NFL prospect Denzel Ward did not play in the Cotton Bowl on Friday night, and will not return for his senior season.

In a note posted on his Twitter account just before kickoff, Ward said it was a very difficult decision and that he did what was best for he and his family.

Ward was on the Ohio State sideline wearing his No. 12 jersey over a long-sleeve shirt and in street pants. The No. 5 Buckeyes played No. 8 Southern California.

Ohio State said in a statement released at the start of the game that coaches were aware that Ward might not play, and that his decision wouldn't be made until game day. The junior had practiced with the team this week in Texas.

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