COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State has the best, and deepest, wide receiver room in the country and it’s not close.
The Buckeyes return starters Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, who combined for 1,452 yards and 13 touchdowns with both players hauling in more than 700 yards despite only playing an eight-game season.
“It’s probably not like this nowhere else. It’s honestly ridiculous,” Wilson said. “It’s really the deepest room that I’ve seen. Even being a fan of college football growing up, I don’t think it gets like this often.”
Returning sophomore Jaxon Smith-Njigba will be prominent this season as will sophomore Julian Fleming, who’s finally healthy after dealing with a shoulder injury that’s affected him for years.
“I’m just excited to be fully healthy and be able to showcase my skills and I feel like I’m just continually getting better every day, so I’m just hoping to continue that,” Fleming said.
The Buckeyes receiver room was so deep that junior Jameson Williams, who saw plenty of targets in 2020, opted to transfer to Alabama where the Crimson Tide lost their two top wideouts to the NFL.
All of those talented OSU receivers will of course be dependent on redshirt freshman C.J. Stroud, who was named Ohio State’s starting quarterback over the weekend.
“I got all the confidence in C.J. I know him as a person, so he’s a confident dude,” Olave said. “I believe in him just like I believe in Justin [Fields], so I believe he’ll make the right throws and the right reads.”
Senior Kamryn Babb has yet to record a reception at OSU but was recently named one of six captains for this year’s team. The reason? Babb tore his ACL as a freshman after injuring it during his senior year of high school, forcing him to miss the entire 2018 season. 2019 was shaping up to be a big season for Babb with the Buckeyes losing Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon, and Terry McLaurin until he re-injured his ACL, forcing him to once again miss the entire year.
A shortened 2020 season was especially hard on Babb, who had fewer opportunities to stand out since fall and spring practices were canceled and he never saw playing time as a receiver. But that will change in 2021 and he’s ready to take advantage of the opportunity.
“It’s going to be an awesome year,” Babb said. “I’m looking forward to my role, just bringing energy and, you know, when the focus is on those two talented guys [Olave and Wilson] outside, then I can make some room and spread the field out and make plays.”
Two other guys who will make plays this season are true freshman Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr. Both players came in as highly-touted recruits and showed why in the spring game, hauling in seven catches apiece. They’ve only gotten better during summer workouts and fall camp and are poised to play an important role on Ohio State’s lethal offense.
“They catch on real quick,” Olave said. “They’re not playing like freshmen and they’re not acting like freshmen, so I can’t wait to see them get on the field and show the world.”