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Just How Deep is the Receiver Room at Ohio State?

2023 Ohio State University

The answer to that question is "very". Ohio State not only has a great top-three receivers that will play the majority of the snaps this season, they have a second-unit of receivers that would be starting and dominating at just about any other school in the country. For just about every one of the last ten years the Ohio State Buckeyes have had one of the top wide receiver corps in the nation. From guys like Michael Thomas and Terry McLaurin to Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson the Buckeyes have continued to churn out elite level talent from this position group. Coming into the 2023 season the national media has put out constant reminders that the best player in the country plays in this room at Ohio State and goes by the name Marvin Harrison Jr. But outside of one of college football's biggest star, who else is there?

First up behind Harrison Jr. is the long time Buckeye and former top recruit Julian Fleming who came to Ohio State with much fanfare out of the state of Pennsylvania, but he hasn't been able to see much of the field in his first three seasons with the Buckeyes due to a couple of injuries and a super deep position group that has sent multiple players to the NFL Draft in the first round in recent years. 2022 was his biggest season by far having played in 11 of the teams game totaling 533 yards and six touchdowns on 34 receptions. He has waited patiently for his time to come at Ohio State and now that his chance is finally here and he is the clear No. 2 receiver in the room and will play opposite Harrison Jr. on the outside he will likely be in for a big season.

Next up is the leader in the slot position in Emeka Egbuka who is arguably the second best receiver in the room. He shined in all 13 games a season ago and was became a featured part of the offense with Smith-Njigba sidelined. His efforts a season ago have many pro-scouts looking in his direction. He is coming off a 1000 yard season with 10 receiving touchdowns and 74 receptions and will no doubt be looking to replicate his performance and earn himself a chance to play in the NFL in 2024.

The trio of Harrison Jr., Fleming, and Egbuka will be must see TV regardless of who winds up winning the QB battle this summer. They play with electrifying speed and elite route running abilities. But if one of them was to go down with an injury this season there are quite a few guys waiting on the sidelines to jump into action. The first of which showed off his skills in this year's spring game. Carnell Tate who hauled in a 37-yard touchdown in that game is likely going to see plenty of the field this season regardless of the health of those above him. He has too much skill, potential, and a drive for greatness to be left on the bench. He is raw and will need some time to develop, but look for his name being called this season and just wait to see what this young stud may become.

Up next is Xavier Johnson who will hopefully be utilized in a similar role as Jalin Marshall and Curtis Samuel were throughout their Buckeye careers. He is a multipurpose weapon that can both run the ball effectively and has the size and speed to play out of the slot behind Egbuka. Buckeye fans got a peek of him last season when he put up 146 yards and a touchdown on just 12 attempts when the running back room was decimated with injuries. Expect to see him utilized more this season as they will likely look to him to help the run game on jet sweeps.

After him on the depth chart is Jayden Ballard is the final of the three main backups for Ohio State this season. He saw minimal playing time last year but hauled in eight receptions for 155 yards and one touchdown with a long of 72-yards. Ballard is another talented deep-threat receiver that will likely rotate onto the field to give the starters a break throughout the season, but he probably won't see too much of the field just yet.

Those are the top six and there's a good chance that these are the only guys we see get on the field to take meaningful snaps this season. But there are plenty of players who will be looking to take the next step in their development to potentially earn a spot on the depth chart next season. At the top of that list is Freshman Brandon Innis, who is one of the top prospects on the team this season and will no doubt be on the field in no time making big time plays. But the Buckeyes also have Noah Rogers, Bryson Rodgers, and Kojo Antwi who are also true-freshman this season and all came in as top-level talents for Ohio State this offseason.

Outside of those incoming Freshman the Buckeyes have Sophomore (SO.) Kyion Grayes, SO. Caleb Burton, SO. Kaleb Brown, SO. Kai Saunders, SO. David Adolph, Junior (JR.) Joop Mitchell, and JR. Reis Stockdale. Most of these guys could jump onto the field at any other university in the country and put up decent numbers, so don't sleep on the reserves for Ohio State this season if the injuries that plagued the running back room last season jump ship to the receiving room this year.



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