Throughout the month of August, LGHL writers will be attempting to answer some of the most important questions about Ohio State’s 2021 football season. To catch up on all editions of LGHL Asks, click HERE.
LGHL Asks: Will any receiver have a substantial amount of targets besides Olave and Wilson this season?
This is a difficult question to answer. Not because I don’t think any other receivers will be targeted, but because I can’t narrow it down to just one! Obviously, Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson will receive the majority of passes this season. I know that, you know that, and every single opponent that OSU plays also knows that too. Therefore, I expect a lot of double teams and bracket coverage on both receivers throughout the season, which means other receivers will definitely be utilized. The two I believe that will be targeted the most are Julian Fleming (IF he stays healthy) and Emeka Egbuka.
I must admit, Fleming is a bit of a risky pick. He struggled to stay healthy during his high school career, and those injuries carried into his first year at Ohio State in 2021. In addition to the injuries, the 2020 offseason was limited in terms of the amount of practices held, so even though Fleming enrolled in January to get a head start on his collegiate career, there wasn’t much he could do. So, he didn’t get the normal amount of preparation an early enrollee would usually receive.
Enough with the excuses, though. Fleming definitely showed flashes of his potential last season, especially when he filled in for Olave during the Big Ten Championship Game, when WR1 was out due to COVID. Fleming had four receptions for 53 yards — his best game all season. Keep in mind that this is the game in which Trey Sermon went absolutely crazy and took over the entire offense, so there weren’t a ton of passes being thrown.
Fleming was the top-ranked receiver in the 2020 recruiting class and the third-best player in the country. He was Pennsylvania’s Player of the Year his senior season, and is the state’s career leader in touchdown receptions (77) and receiving yards (5,514). As a result of these stats and accolades, there were high expectations for him to contribute immediately — kind of like Wilson when he was a freshman. Fleming’s combination of size and speed is something that WR coach Brian Hartline said he has never seen before at the collegiate level. Everyone — including fans, coaches, and teammates — are excited about the potential Fleming possesses; again, IF he can stay healthy.
The other receiver I think has the biggest opportunity this season is Emeka Egbuka. He was a consensus five-star prospect who was the nation’s top-ranked wide receiver and the No. 8 overall player in the 2021 class. So yes, I am picking a freshman to make an impact this season offensively; I am really excited to see what he can do. When I went to the spring game, I kept hearing his name over the loudspeakers and seeing him make great plays. He caught seven passes for 123 yards, which is quite impressive as a newbie to the Ohio State offense. Honestly though, I didn’t know much about him.
Egbuka was the 2019 Gatorade Player of the Year in Washington. He caught 83 passes for 1,607 yards and 25 touchdowns his junior season (he didn’t play a senior season since Washington moved football to the spring, and he was an early enrollee at OSU). In total, he caught 199 passes for nearly 4,000 yards and 61 TDs in his high school career. Pretty good stats, if I do say so myself.
The highly-praised freshman is extremely athletic, having played both receiver and defensive back in high school. Therefore, he is quick, agile, and able to elude defenders well. His career sounds very promising, and I am curious to see what he can do in his first year.
All I can say is, I am happy that I am not Ryan Day. This WR depth (and QB depth, but that’s a whole other story) is just unbelievable. Hartline is the king recruiter, and now it’s time to see how he manages to determine who gets the bulk of the playing time. Olave and Wilson are starters, but what other talent will emerge? Fleming and Egbuka are my picks, but who do you think? Let me know in the poll below!
What receiver, excluding Wilson and Olave, will make the biggest impact this season?
This poll is closed
Marvin Harrison Jr.