It seems as if there is never a dull moment in Ohio State’s wide receivers room these days. It’s not surprising that there is a whole lot of moving and shaking when it comes to one of the deepest position unit in the country. Since Ryan Day and Brian Hartline have amassed quite a collection of talent, there isn’t going to be playing time for everyone, which has led to some players to seek opportunities elsewhere.
On Friday, Jeremy Birmingham of Letterman Row stated that wide receivers Jaylen Harris and Elijah Gardiner were no longer with the program. The news comes after receivers Mookie Cooper and Jameson Williams had transferred out of the program earlier this year. Cooper has decided to continue his college career at Missouri, while Williams will join him in the SEC at Alabama.
Harris came to Ohio State from Cleveland Heights as a four-star prospect, but failed to make his mark with the Buckeyes. In his four years in Columbus, Harris caught just five passes for 54 yards. In the shortened 2020 season, Harris didn’t appear in any games for Ohio State, as he was dealing with an undisclosed injury.
After originally committing to Missouri, Elijah Gardiner flipped to Ohio State before the February 2017 National Signing Day. Much like Harris, the three-star receiver from Texas wasn’t able to find the field much for the Buckeyes. The only catch of Gardiner’s Ohio State career was a 10-yard reception in 2019 against Miami (Ohio). Gardiner didn’t appear in a game in 2020 for the Buckeyes, and neither he or Harris played in Ohio State’s spring game.
To fill the vacated spots on the wide receiver depth chart, Ohio State is looking towards the transfer portal. Jackson State wide receiver Daylen Baldwin tweeted on Thursday that he had received an offer from Ohio State, which was his first scholarship offer from a Power 5 school. Michigan and Michigan State followed suit and offered Baldwin a scholarship on Friday.
Baldwin is a Michigan native who started his college career at Morgan State, where he caught 30 passes for 333 yards and two touchdowns in 25 games. Following the 2019 season, Baldwin transferred to Jackson State, where he was the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s best wide receiver in the shortened spring season, hauling in 27 passes for 540 yards and seven touchdowns in six games.
While you don’t often see a player from the FCS transfer to a high-profile program like Ohio State, Baldwin is looked at as bit of a late bloomer. Baldwin is expected to announce his transfer destination on June 20th. If Baldwin does decide to continue his playing career in Columbus, he will help the depth at wide receiver, which has been depleted some not only by transfers, but also an injury to Kamryn Babb, as well as Gee Scott Jr. moving to tight end.
Even though Ohio State might not be deep at wide receiver right now, they have incredible talent at the top. Not only do starters Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson return this fall, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming have a year under their belt with the Buckeyes. As if that wasn’t a strong enough group, Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr. figure to see action this fall as freshmen.