Jaxon Smith-Njigba is among 15 Buckeye players out against Penn State. https://t.co/atlotxzf2r— THE Football Fever (@TheFeverABC6) October 29, 2022
After playing sparingly two weeks ago against Iowa, wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba was unavailable for Saturday’s game against Penn State. Smith-Njigba suffered a hamstring injury in the first half of the season opener against Notre Dame which has kept him on the sidelines for most of the first eight games of the season. While Ohio State has been able to keep their offense rolling without Smith-Njigba thanks to the efforts of Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka, and Julian Fleming, it would be great to see the Buckeye passing game operate with one of the best receivers in the country added to the mix.
Prior to the season, Smith-Njigba was a front-runner for the Biletnikoff Award after an outstanding 2021 season and a record-breaking Rose Bowl. It’ll be interesting to see if Smith-Njigba is able to get back on the field this season. If the wide receiver returns, it likely won’t be until the Michigan game since Ohio State’s next three opponents should be easy victories for the Buckeyes. It is understandable if we have seen the last of Smith-Njigba in the scarlet and gray since he is projected as a high draft pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, but hopefully we can see him play a couple more games with the Buckeyes.
Injuries are part of football, but there are some Buckeye players that have had their time in Columbus effected by injuries that hit harder than others. Maybe it was an injury to a fan favorite, a key player, or it could be a player that dealt with a number of injuries during their time in college.
Today’s question: What Ohio State player had injury issues that hit you the hardest?
We’d love to hear your choices. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your choice in the comments.
Brett’s answer: Nick Bosa
After his brother left Ohio State and was drafted with the third pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, Nick Bosa came to Columbus and pick up where Joey left off. Following a five sack freshman season, Nick was even better in his second year in the scarlet and gray, recording 8.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss, earning Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year honors. The younger Bosa looked primed to be in the mix to win the Hendricks Award as the best defensive end in college football.
Bosa came out of the gates strong in 2018, recording four sacks and a touchdown in the first three games of the season. Unfortunately for Bosa and the Buckeyes, the junior was injured in the third game of the season, suffering an injury that required core muscle surgery. After holding out hope Bosa would be able to return later in the season, it was announced a month a later that he would be out the rest of the season, and was declaring for the NFL Draft.
The reason why I feel like Bosa’s injury was so tough to stomach was because we didn’t get a true conclusion to his Ohio State career. The defensive end obviously made the right decision since he was the second overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, and is one of the best defensive ends in the NFL. It would have been fun to see just how many sacks and tackles for loss Bosa could have racked up if he was able to play the full 2018 season. Would Bosa have been able to top the 13.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss his older brother posted in 2014? Nick certainly had a good start towards reaching those marks had he not been injured against TCU.
Meredith’s answer: Ted Ginn Jr.
What’s interesting about this question is how injuries often have played out in ways that have benefited Ohio State. For example, remember when Braxton Miller got hurt, leading to J.T. Barrett being the starting quarterback? And then when Barrett got hurt against Michigan and Cardale Jones took over? It turned into a national title season for the Buckeyes.
However, I’m surprised Brett didn’t pick Ted Ginn Jr. He covered the “what if?” scenario of if the Buckeyes’ star receiver would not have gotten injured after scoring on the opening kickoff in the 2007 BCS National Championship Game. Ginn returned the kick 93 yards for a score and subsequently got hurt on the celebration, exiting the game for good with an ankle injury.
Ginn is my pick because things went very dramatically down from there for Jim Tressel’s Buckeyes. While Brett argued that the Buckeyes would not have beaten Florida even if Ginn were in for the whole game, it would have been closer and probably less embarrassing. It was literally adding insult to injury.
This particular injury also burns because, while it was an amazing play (I feel like we regularly discuss how few special teams touchdowns we get and when we anticipate the next one coming), I hate that such a great Ohio State player went down with an injury so early in his last game. It was Ginn’s last play as a Buckeye and it stinks that it ended with him hurt.
Things worked out for Ginn, obviously, who just retired in 2021 after a successful 14-year NFL career.