Now, let me start this off by saying there is absolutely nothing wrong with Ohio State’s current wide receiver unit. It’s loaded with both experienced and fresh talent, and with Justin Fields as their quarterback, they’re set up to have a remarkable season.
Last season, junior WR Chris Olave was Fields’ go-to guy, catching 48 balls for 480 yards and 12 touchdowns, while then-freshman Garrett Wilson tallied 30 receptions for 432 yards and five touchdowns. These two were major contributors to the team’s success last season, along with K.J. Hill, Binjimen Victor and Austin Mack (who are now all NFL bound).
As for the aforementioned fresh talent, freshmen Julian Fleming, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Gee Scott Jr. and Mookie Cooper are all at WR coach Brian Hartline’s disposal this fall.
Fleming was the No. 3 prospect in the 2020 recruiting cycle and the No. 1 receiver. He is the highest-ranked recruit to sign with the Buckeyes since Terrelle Pryor in 2008. Smith-Njigba was the fifth-ranked receiver in the 2020 class, due to the 5,346 receiving yards and 82 touchdowns he racked up during his high school career. Scott Jr. and Cooper have similar resumes, ranked No. 10 and No. 16 at the position, respectively.
Other receivers to keep an eye on this season include sophomore Kamryn Babb— who has massive potential but has been held back due to knee injuries, sixth-year senior C.J. Saunders (assuming he is healthy), senior Jaylen Harris, redshirt junior Ellijah Gardiner and sophomore Jameson Williams.
So yeah, Fields has options. But again, for the sake of this new series we’ve started up, let’s say Olave or Garett are unavailable for whatever reason in the season opener (opponent yet to be determined), or the freshmen studs aren’t able to adjust to the collegiate level due to lack of in-person training, and Coach Day was allowed to pluck any former Ohio State wide receiver and put him on this year’s roster. Who would you want back in Columbus catching passes from QB1?
Gun to my head— I’m choosing Ted Ginn Jr. every time (assuming he’d also be utilized on kick/punt return). But, if I were to dive into my options a little more, I’d also be interested to see the numbers Michael Thomas and Terry McLaurin could produce with Fields’ arm (no offense, J.T.)
Maybe you’d rather stick to your guns and pick a surefire winner, in which case you’d go with David Boston (1996-1998), who holds the Ohio State record for receiving receptions in a single game (14), receiving yards in a single season (1,435 in ‘98) and receiving touchdowns in a career (34). Joining Boston in several categories of the Ohio State record books include Michael Jenkins, Cris Carter, Terry Glenn, K.J. Hill, Parris Campbell and DeVier Posey— none of which would let us down. Or, does the 2020-21 roster need the likes of a multifaceted receiver, like a Curtis Samuel or a Braxton Miller?
Choose your fighter.
We all have our favorite Ohio State wide receivers, and your first choice will likely be based on the many fond memories watching that particular player. But, I urge you to pick your player based on the current 2020-21 roster, coaching staff and schedule.
So, let’s hear it.