“Former Ohio State wide receiver Terry McLaurin has gotten off to a historic start in his NFL career... he became the first player to have at least five receptions and a touchdown in the first three games of his pro career.”
Very few players have risen up the draft boards the way Terry McLaurin did this past summer, but now it looks like he didn’t go quite high enough. McLaurin, a third rounder and the 76th overall selection, is a leading candidate for offensive rookie of the year after yet another great performance Monday night. His play for the team from Washington has been spectacular, as he has clearly found a rhythm with Case Keenum (and we already know what he can do with Dwayne Haskins who is waiting in the wings).
He has 16 catches for 257 yards and three touchdowns in his young career, and now owns a record exclusive to him. He is the first player in the NFL’s wide and storied history to have 5+ catches and a touchdown in his first three games. And he should have even more. He had the Eagles burnt again on a 50+ yard touchdown but was just barely overthrown, and was overthrown on a two point conversion and had a 22-yard gain negated by penalty against the Bears. And it’s not like McLaurin has gone up against easy defenses. The Cowboys are a top unit and the Bears may be the best defense of this decade.
McLaurin’s rise has been a fun one to watch. Coming out of OSU, McLaurin had solid, but not spectacular numbers. He only had 1,251 total yards in his college career, (Jerry Jeudy of Alabama had 1,315 last year alone) and because of this many saw him as a 6th-7th round pick. However, he had a great senior bowl week, which saw him shoot up boards, and then followed that with an exceptional combine that saw him run a 4.35 40 and McLaurin was mocked to go in the first round by some publications including Mel Kiper Jr.
Of course, he eventually settled in the third, but his production in the NFL thus far makes him the steal of the draft. He follows in the footsteps of Michael Thomas, another OSU wide receiver whose talent and NFL production has far out stripped his college numbers, and fellow 2018 draftee Parris Campbell (5/113/1) will hope to catch up soon. Regardless, OSU, along with defensive end and secondary, is becoming a wide receiver factory, and the current crop headlined by Chris Olave are continuing that tradition in spades.
“Winning 40% of his pass-rush attempts, Young had an elite day rushing the passer against Miami (OH). He had two strip-sacks, one coming from the right and another from the left as he finished the game with four pressures, two sacks and two hurries on just 16 pass-rush attempts before his day was over.”
In total, five OSU players landed on PFF’s first team, with Justin Fields, Jameson Williams, Davon Hamilton and Jordan Fuller joining Chase Young. This is Fields third appearance in 4 weeks, and he posted an 85 offensive grade while continuing to show off his arm with a 14.8 depth of target, best in the Big Ten this week. Jameson Williams, who despite being way down on the WR depth chart, made his mark with a 61 yard touchdown from Gunnar Hoak, while Davon Hamilton and Jordan Fuller were rocks on a defense that did not allow a touchdown.
Fuller in particular did not miss a tackle and only allowed one completion for a measly 4 yards. Of other note, K.J. Hill, Binjimin Victor and Jefferey Okudah landed on the second team for their performances.
One the other side, OSU’s next opponent in Nebraska also had quite a few players make a mark last week. They had 11 combined players between the first and second teams, which actually led the Big Ten. The passing attack of Nebraska showed out against Illinois, with wide receivers Wan’dale Robinson and JD Spielman making it, along with tight end Jack Stoll for his pass catching exploits. Lamar Jackson, Marquel Dismuke and Cam Taylor-Britt round out the first team selections.
Adrian Martinez, Maurice Washington, Kahlil Davis, Cam-Taylor Britt and JoJo Domann made the second team. The positions show Nebraska was stingy against the pass, and and elite through the air themselves. Big play potential is high with Nebraska’s skill and speed. The weakness they showed against Illinois was their inability to stop the run, and they will have their hands full again vs. J.K. Dobbins. Nebraska will be by far the most talented team OSU will play up until this point, and the PFF list proves it.
“They have a kid there now named Kaleb Wesson that they said that I play similar to. Very physical. Post moves. Mid range. Driving to the basket from around the key and stuff like that. They really see me and just coming in and doing the same thing basically and just taking my game to the next level.”
Expectations for the upcoming Buckeye basketball season are as high as they have been in years in Chris Holtmann’s third go at the helm. The 2019 recruiting class is headlined by a bunch of four-star prospects, and Holtmann has already had his guys over performing, featuring an upset win over Iowa State in the NCAA Tournament last year. The bright star of the Holtmann era so far has been Kaleb Wesson.
He’s been a force in the post, and OSU’s leader for points and rebounds this past year. Unfortunately, Kaleb can not stay forever, and OSU is already looking for his replacement. That may come in the form of three star forward Zed Key. He gives up a bit of size to Wesson, but coaches already see a lot of Kaleb in his play style, and leaned heavily on that as they recruited Key. They showed Zed clips of his play and Kaleb’s back to back, and showed why they were similar, before showing clips of Kaleb’s growth to show Key how they could develop him.
Key was extremely appreciative of the effort, as he knows they have a long term plan and a clear ability to develop Key into a player that may one day reach the NBA like Wesson might. The New York native committed fully to OSU on Sunday, making two 2020 OSU players so far. Chris Holtmann has been putting in work both on the court and on the recruiting trail, and this is just another example of the stellar job Holtmann has done so far.
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