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Column: Wilson and Smith-Njigba snubbed from the Biletnikoff Watch List

Garrett Wilson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba were not named as semi-finalists for the Biletnikoff Award. However, I could not tell you why.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 13 Purdue at Ohio State Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

So, the Biletnikoff semi-finalists were announced Monday. This award is annually given to the best collegiate wide receiver. There were a couple of names that were not surprising: Purdue’s David Bell and Alabama’s Jameson Williams (previously at Ohio State). The lone Buckeye that made the list was Chris Olave. Two Buckeyes that didn’t make the list were Garrett Wilson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. As soon as I heard this news, I knew I had to write about this unbelievable snubbery.

Let me make this clear right off of the bat: I fully believe that Olave deserves to be a semi-finalist for this award. This is not about him. This is about the fact that two of the best receivers in the country were seemingly forgotten about for this award. It just doesn’t make sense. Let’s compare some stats here, shall we?

2021 Biletnikoff Semi-Finalists

Name School Rec. Yards Rec. TDs
Name School Rec. Yards Rec. TDs
Deven Thompkins Utah State 1,441 77 11
Jerreth Sterns WKU 1,368 111 11
Josh Downs UNC 1,109 82 8
David Bell Purdue 1,106 75 5
Drake London USC 1,084 88 7
Jordan Addison Pitt 1,070 60 11
Jameson Williams Alabama 1,028 51 10
Jahan Dotson Penn St. 993 80 9
A.T. Perry Wake Forest 918 47 11
Chris Olave Ohio St. 708 51 11
ESPN Stats

Garrett Wilson has 813 receiving yards, 53 receptions and nine touchdowns. JSN has 1,027 receiving yards, 59 receptions and five touchdowns. No knock on Olave at all, however these are better numbers than what he has put up this season.

Now, why should these two receivers take the spots of two other receivers? Well, according to the Biletnikoff candidate eligibility website and what voters take into consideration, “A voter may consider the quality of the candidate’s opposing teams and the candidate’s team’s strength of schedule, as well as the candidate’s team’s strength of season record during the season he’s a candidate.”

Currently, Ohio State has the ninth toughest strength of schedule in the country. UNC is 29th, Wake Forest 37th, Pitt 41st, USC 48th, Western Kentucky 86th and Utah State 96th. According to these stats, Ohio State receivers should be prioritized over all of these schools. With Olave, this was the case, but not with Wilson and JSN.

Additionally, the Biletnikoff website says, “A voter may consider the candidate’s statistical performance for the season he is a candidate.” Well, JSN has more receiving yards than three of the candidates, and one less than Jameson Williams.

I know that there is more to this award than the stats and strength of schedule. That is made perfectly clear through Olave, who, although having the least receiving yards of the candidates, is tied for first in the nation in touchdowns. He is clutch, reliable and a great leader, which are additional factors that the voting committee looks for.

However, I feel like the entire country knows how great of a receiver that Wilson is. This is evident through the past two games Ohio State has played. When Wilson was out against Nebraska, Stroud struggled. When he came back to play against Purdue, Stroud had one of the best games of his career (3 TDs and 126 yards). Coincidence? I think not.

Let’s not forget about JSN either. Coming into the season, everyone was talking about the dynamic duo of Wilson and Olave. Now, you can't talk about OSU receivers without discussing the importance of Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Against Nebraska alone, he had 240 yards. 240! He has been a critical piece of the offense all season, and his athleticism and speed makes him one of the best in the country.

I truly don’t want to knock on any of the semi-finalists. This is a huge accomplishment for them! It is just frustrating and confusing to see two of the best receivers in the nation being left off of the ballot. I guess that means that Wilson will have to come back for another year (*wink*) and JSN will have to be even better next year!

Poll

Do you think Wilson and JSN should be semi-finalists for the Biletnikoff?

This poll is closed

  • 86%
    Yes!
    (228 votes)
  • 7%
    Just Wilson
    (21 votes)
  • 4%
    Just JSN
    (12 votes)
  • 1%
    No, neither of them should be
    (3 votes)
264 votes total Vote Now