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Garrett Wilson moving to slot, Demario McCall looking to make an impact at wide receiver for Ohio State

Their careers may be at different points, but both Wilson and McCall are looking forward to a big 2020.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 30 Ohio State at Michigan Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After coming to Ohio State as one of the most highly-regarded recruits in the nation, wide receiver Garrett Wilson lived up to the hype in his first season with the Buckeyes. The five-star prospect from Texas hauled in 30 catches for 432 yards and five touchdowns as a freshman. Wilson did most of his damage as the pressure was turned up later in the season, grabbing 16 passes for nearly 300 yards and a couple touchdowns in the final six games of the year.

Even bigger things are on the horizon this year for Wilson, as it was announced the wide receiver would be moved to the slot. The Buckeyes have a big hole at the position after the school’s all-time leading reception leader K.J. Hill exhausted his eligibility and is now playing in the NFL. While the move will cause Wilson to look at defenses in a different way, there’s no question he has the talent to do plenty of damage on the inside.

This change might have been put in motion a lot sooner, but the COVID-19 pandemic and questions about whether Ohio State would even be playing football this season delayed Wilson’s move to the slot. Wilson also wasn’t expecting the move to the slot to be made, but he is happy to do whatever it takes to help the Buckeyes in their goal of winning a national championship.

While Hill and Wilson only had a year together, there’s not many better receivers out there to learn how to play the slot position from than K.J. Hill. Wilson is also looking forward to getting to work in the slot because he models his game a lot after Davante Adams of the Green Bay Packers and Stefon Diggs of the Buffalo Bills — two of the best wide receivers in the NFL.

With the move to the slot, Wilson knows he will have to use the cerebral aspect of the game just as much as his physical gifts. Instead of seeing more one-on-one matchups like he did on the outside at wide receiver, Wilson will be tasked with finding more zones in the defense to get himself open. Wide receivers coach Brian Hartline knows just how dynamic of a player Wilson is at wide receiver, and this is the next step in his evolution at the position.

While Garrett Wilson’s career may just be ramping up at Ohio State, Demario McCall’s is just winding down. McCall’s career hasn’t gone anywhere close to how he was hoping when he arrived in Columbus, but he knows he has one last shot to make a name for himself.

There’s no question McCall has the athletic ability to make a big impact for the Buckeyes, so far the pieces just haven’t fallen into place. McCall can play pretty much anywhere on the field. He can take handoffs, catch the football, and create a spark on special teams — which makes his lack of production even more puzzling.

Even though his final season in Columbus has been shortened, there is still an opportunity for McCall to showcase his skills. After the Buckeyes lost K.J. Hill, Austin Mack, and Binjimen Victor to graduation, there are snaps to be fought for at wide receiver. McCall’s experience could give him an early leg-up over some of the younger receivers at the position.

McCall could also use his special teams prowess to spark the Buckeyes this year. The fifth-year senior is willing to do whatever he can to get on the field in his limited time left at Ohio State and help the Buckeyes get into the College Football Playoff mix. Even though his career hasn’t gone as planned, there’d be no better way for McCall to cap off his time with the Buckeyes than with a national title.