He saw some playing time as a true freshman reserve in 2010, recording 16 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and 1.0 sack. Hankins became a starter in 2011 as a sophomore and had his best statistical season, finishing with 67 tackles, 11.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks, earning All-Big Ten Honorable Mention honors.
He started every game again in 2012 as a junior (12 starts), recording 55 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss and 1.0 sack, earning First Team All-Big Ten honors. Hankins decided to forego his final season of eligibility and enter the 2013 NFL Draft.
"I have decided, with the support of my family, to forego my senior season at Ohio State in order to enter the NFL Draft," Hankins said. "I will always be grateful for the family I have gained here at Ohio State."
Hankins, who carried the nickname "Big John" or "Big Hank" around Ohio State's campus, is a load to handle on the defensive line with impressive fluidity and coordination skills for a big man, playing with an active motor. He played all over the defense line in college, lining up both outside at end and inside at tackle.
Hankins rarely left the field and his coaches talk positively about his football character, but he often looked fatigued and worn down throughout games.
Hankins has a rare combination of size, strength and foot quickness for the defensive line to be a force against both the run and the pass and although he only looks half-speed at times when his tank isn't full, Hankins can tear through blocks like paper - a potential top-10 pick with the versatility to line up as a traditional 3-technique DT in a four-man front or an effective two-gapping 0-technique NT for a 3-4 defense.
He is fluid and rangy, dropping in coverage at times and making plays up and down the line of scrimmage. He looks smooth in space with flexible ankles to quickly redirect his momentum and move well in any direction to be a factor on just about every play.
Hankins is a tough run defender with very good awareness and instincts, using his eyes to track the play and body to force the issue. He extends to shrug off blocks and uses his hands to bully blockers, controlling the POA and setting the edge when playing outside. Hankins has extremely strong hands to secure tackles and finish plays once he gets his hands on the ballcarrier.
He has versatility to play inside or outside, seeing a lot of time at both DE and DT in college, also playing on some special teams, blocking a field goal in 2012 (vs. Purdue). Hankins eats up multiple blocks and frequently attracts double-teams. He rarely left the field and started every game the past two seasons for the Buckeyes (25 starts), displaying an obvious passion for the game.
Weaknesses: Hankins relies too much on his upper-body strength at times and needs to play with consistent leverage. He uses his body too much and needs to consistently utilize his hands and limbs.
Hankins doesn't always play smart with several penalties on his resume, including a late hit on the quarterback (vs. Michigan State in 2012). He tends to wear down throughout the course of a game and give streaky effort, looking fatigued and noticeably taking plays off.
Hankins battled a minor knee sprain the past two seasons, wearing a brace much of the time.
He set career-bests statistically as sophomore and failed to reach the same numbers in 2012. Hankins lost 15-plus pounds prior to his junior season and his weight needs to be monitored to stay in shape.
NFL Comparison: Brandon Mebane, DT, Seattle Seahawks - Like Mebane, Hankins is a tough run defender who can disrupt the pocket and dominate 1-on-1 blockers, but at his best when not asked to play every down.
-- Dane Brugler