Drew Ott thanks Iowa fans, others for support after NCAA denies appeal

Chad Leistikow

Drew Ott’s final appeal for a fifth year of college eligibility was denied by the NCAA.

Ott was informed of the NCAA's decision late Tuesday night, the Register has learned. The decision comes more than four months after Ott, a defensive end at Iowa, first told reporters he had begun paperwork to request a medical hardship after October surgeries to repair a torn ACL in his right knee and ligament damage in his left elbow.

"Finding out that my time has come to an end here at Iowa leaves me with a lot of people to thank," Ott wrote on his Instagram account. "Thank you to my coaches for giving me the opportunity, believing in me, and staying with me through this whole process. Hawkeye fans, you have been amazing and thank you for the constant support. I wouldn't have been able to do any of this without my friends and family."

Ott had five sacks in an injury-shortened 2015 season. Ott, who finished his Iowa career with 15.5 sacks, has a medical recheck scheduled with NFL teams on Friday.

Ott's season came to an end on Oct. 10 when he suffered a torn ACL in his right knee against Illinois. Iowa had argued that since Ott was playing injured — he suffered a left arm injury against Iowa State on Sept. 12 that eventually required Tommy John surgery — his later games should not count as full games played. The threshold to receive a medical hardship is not playing in more than 30 percent of a season's games.

“I’ve been doing this for a while,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday at a Polk County I-Club event at the Sheraton West Des Moines. “I’ve sat in a lot of medical meetings — probably close to 200 in 17 years. And I can remember two occasions where a doctor said after (surgery), ‘I can’t believe that guy played.’ And Drew is one of those guys.

“That hurt his cause, quite frankly. Most people would have put their hand up and said, 'I can’t do it.' That, to me, is the most compelling reason to give it to him.”

Iowa's Drew Ott celebrates his sack on Illinois State quarterback Tre Roberson during a game at Kinnick Stadium on Sept. 5, 2015.

Ott is considered a draftable prospect, but where his stock sits, few know. Ott did not work out at the NFL Combine or Iowa's pro day but measured in for scouts at 6-foot-4 and 277 pounds. Lance Zierlein's draft profile of Ott on NFL.com had this to say about the Iowa defensive end:

"High-effort worker, but NFL production could be limited by his lack of athleticism. Ott is a rotational base end who could find work as a backup, but that might mean Ott's draft stock could be in some trouble."

“Whatever they decide, I’ll be OK,” Ott said Tuesday before the NCAA's decision. “I’m ready for either one. They both have their benefits. I’m excited to take whichever one comes my way.”

The NFL Draft is April 28 in Chicago.

“I should be ready. My rehab’s going great. Everything’s going along smooth,” Ott said. “My elbow, I would say, is about 100 percent. That came along really fast. I just started running on my knee.”

HawkeyeReport.com first reported the Ott decision on Wednesday morning.

This is a developing story.