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Ohio State’s Brian Hartline hoping to find right rotation for wide receivers

With a talented group of receivers, it’s up to their interim coach to decide the best rotation.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

“Fades and jump-balls in the end zone? Binjimen Victor. Drag routes? K.J. Hill. Bubble screens? Parris Campbell. Dirty work on the perimeter? Terry McLaurin. Seemingly instant touchdown production? Johnnie Dixon? Big-play chemistry and tough catches? Austin Mack.”

- Austin Ward, Lettermen Row

One of the most dynamic position groups at Ohio State entering 2018 has to be the wide receivers. Often discussed as being one of the most tight-knit units on the team, there’s plenty of talent for Dwayne Haskins to throw the ball too; including Parris Campbell, K.J. Hill, Terry McLaurin, Johnnie Dixon, Austin Mack, and Binjimen Victor. With a bevy of experience and speed coming from this group, expectations are high in Columbus.

Last season, the wide receivers flashed potential of big-play capabilities, and towards the end of the season really started to blossom.

While J.T. Barrett was at the helm last year, Haskins gets his shot in 2018, and now it’s really time to decide who gets the rock tossed at them this season. Brian Hartline recently took over for Zach Smith, and is now tasked with finding out who’s worked their way into seeing the most balls this season.


“[Players replacing stars] Kendall Sheffield, Ohio State (Replacing Denzel Ward, No. 4 overall pick.)”

- Tom VanHaaren, ESPN

Perhaps the most obvious choice for selecting a player from a college team that has to replace a star would be Dwayne Haskins, who has to fill the shoes of J.T. Barrett. Barrett had a historic career with Ohio State, and Haskins will have his work cut out for him right from the jump.

But Tom VanHaaren and the staff at ESPN selected Kendall Sheffield as the crucial replacement for Denzel Ward. Ward was selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns and has had some highlight plays early on in the preseason.

Sheffield, meanwhile, prepares for his first full season as a starter at cornerback. While he found plenty of time on the field last season, he’ll be looked upon to help lead a deep cornerback unit that includes himself, Damon Arnette, and Jeffrey Okudah. Sheffield is considered one of the fastest players on the Buckeyes, and he’ll look to showcase that against top teams this season.


“‘I’ve had thoughts about punt returner, I’ve had all kinds of thoughts. But you jeopardize your whole program if you do that. That exact conversation has been had 50, 60 times. How much can you really use him if he’s the No. 2, and the No. 3 is a true freshman coming off a bad knee injury?’”

- Urban Meyer via Bill Landis, Cleveland.com

While we still await the decision on whether Urban Meyer will still be the head coach of Ohio State this season or not, there are still questions to be answered about the roster. For the time being, those will end up falling to Ryan Day, the interim head coach. One of the biggest topics of discussion is the potential use of Tate Martell in 2018.

Haskins has locked up the starting quarterback job, but does that mean Martell is completely out of the picture for playing time for this season?

It’s going to be up to the staff to figure out a way to use him, but Meyer brought up a good point above, in that they have to be careful about getting to adventurous. With Martell being the only true healthy backup to Haskins, should Martell get hurt, the Buckeyes would be playing a dangerous game. The only other real option on the roster would be Matthew Baldwin who is a true freshman. He’s also coming off of a knee injury, so it’s not an ideal scenario.


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