LOS ANGELES (WCMH) — Earlier this week, Ohio State coach Ryan Day announced three offensive starters would forgo the Buckeyes’ Rose Bowl game against Utah this Saturday at 5:00 EST.

Stand-out receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, along with offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere, will not suit up for the Rose Bowl. Haskell Garett is the only player on defense who will not play in the game.

“The real deal early on will be to get them to settle down even though we’re playing with the hype of the Rose Bowl, the opponent we’re playing, the exposure of TV in a big game,” OSU offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said. “You came here to play in these games and now it’s your time. It’s a great opportunity to springboard and jump-start your next season.”

True freshmen receivers Emeka Egbuka and Marvis Harrison Jr. will get plenty of reps, along with sophomore Julian Fleming, who’s been injured for most of his college career.

The absence of Wilson and Olave also means the receiver room will be led by sophomore Jaxon Smith-Njigba who paced the team in receptions and receiving yards this season.

“I always wanted to be in this [leadership] position, so it’s just great that it’s happening,” Smith-Njigba said. “I appreciate Chris and Garrett for allowing me to follow them and taking me in the right direction.”

The game will also be one last chance for a few Buckeyes to improve their NFL Draft stock before taking part in Ohio State’s Pro Day this coming spring.

Tight end Jeremy Ruckert didn’t see as many targets as some NFL scouts would have hoped while Thayer Munford, who moved from left tackle to left guard this season, dealt with injuries and played inconsistently at times.

Munford will move back to left tackle with Petit-Frere unavailable, meaning Matt Jones, who played regularly this season, will start at left guard.

“I’m happy that I’m back at tackle and I’m happy that I can show NFL scouts that I can be versatile,” Munford said.

The OSU grad says the game is also about leaving Ohio State on the right note following the Buckeyes crushing loss to Michigan.

“Some of us are just like, ‘Yeah, we’ve got to get this taste out of our mouth, go in here, beat Utah and call it a day, so we leave on a good note, not just a loss to Michigan,'” he said.

The Buckeyes played a pair of younger players in the trenches with Luke Wypler starting the whole season at center and Paris Johnson Jr. starting at right guard. The Rose Bowl might also be a chance for Day to give other young players, like true freshman Donovan Jackson and redshirt freshman Josh Fryar, game reps since Munford and Petit-Frere are leaving for the NFL.

Even with all the departures, the Buckeyes’ future on offense is bright with redshirt freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud and true freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson leading the charge.

Stroud was named the Big Ten Conference’s Freshman of the Year, Quarterback of the Year, and Offensive Player of the Year, shattered several OSU school records, and finished fourth in the Heisman trophy race.

“I’m happy to even be a Heisman finalist, but I don’t think it was fair [to finish fourth],” Stroud said. “Who just wants to see somebody just take the fourth place and be all happy with it? I’ve never been that type of player. I’m a competitor. . . It will drive me for the rest of my life, probably.”

Meanwhile, Henderson broke Maurice Clarett’s single-season freshman touchdown record by scoring 19 times this season and is primed to be one of the best backs in the country entering 2022.