Ohio State has churned out some incredible talent at wide receiver over the years, so it may surprise people to learn that the last Buckeye receivers to be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft was back in 2007 when the Miami Dolphins selected Ted Ginn Jr. with the ninth pick, and the Indianapolis Colts closed out the round by taking Anthony Gonzalez. Overall, just seven Ohio State receivers have gone on to become first-round draft picks.
This year the Buckeyes should see their first wide receiver drafted in the first round in 15 years. In fact, Ohio State likely will have two receivers taken in the first 32 selections in this week’s draft, as both Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave are projected first-round picks. Olave is now Ohio State’s all-time leader in receiving touchdowns, while Wilson amassed 143 catches for 2,210 yards and scored 23 touchdowns over three seasons.
The first Ohio State wide receiver to be drafted in the first round was Joey Galloway, who was selected by the Seattle Seahawks with the eighth pick in the 1995 NFL Draft. During his time in Columbus, Galloway hauled in 108 passes for 1,894 yards and 19 touchdowns, which is crazy considering Cooper Kupp caught 145 passes for 1,947 yards and 16 scores for the Los Angeles Rams last season.
Galloway played the most of any Ohio State wide receiver taken in the first round, sticking around for 16 seasons in the NFL, appearing in 198 games. In three of his first four years in the NFL, Galloway cracked 1,000 yards receiving. After being traded to Dallas and spending four seasons with the Cowboys, Galloway had a career resurgence with Tampa Bay. In his first season with the Buccaneers, Galloway posted a career-high 1,287 yards receiving. The former Buckeye went on to eclipse 1,000 yards receiving in each of the next two seasons. Even though he finished his career with over 10,000 yards receiving, Galloway never was selected to a Pro Bowl.
After Galloway left for the NFL, Terry Glenn seamlessly took over as Ohio State’s top wide receiver. Not only does Glenn’s 17 touchdowns in 1995 still sit on top of the single-season Ohio State school record for most touchdown catches in a year, but his 253 yards against Pitt in 1995 were also the most by an Ohio State wide receiver in a single game until Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s incredible performance in the Rose Bowl. After posting those huge numbers, Glenn went on to win the Biletnikoff Award in 1995.
Glenn was taken by the New England Patriots with the seventh pick in the 1996 NFL Draft. After a tough start to his NFL career where head coach Bill Parcells referred to him as “she”, Glenn made Parcells immediately eat his words, catching 90 passes in his first year, which at the time was an NFL record for a rookie.
Glenn’s most memorable season was in 1999 when he caught 69 passes for 1,147 yards and four scores in a season where he would be selected to the Pro Bowl, and capped off the year with a Super Bowl victory. When he called it quits after 12 seasons in the NFL, Glenn caught 593 passes for 8,823 yards and 44 touchdowns.
Until recently, David Boston held the majority of Ohio State’s major receiving records. K.J. Hill broke Boston’s record of 191 career receptions in 2019. Parris Campbell’s 90 catches topped Boston’s 85 catches in 1998. Olave’s 35 career touchdown catches sit one ahead of Boston’s 34 scores. The biggest play of Boston’s career came late in the 1997 Rose Bowl when he sealed Ohio State’s victory when he scored with 19 seconds left.
Like Galloway, Boston was also selected with the eighth pick in the draft, as the Arizona Cardinals held that pick in 1999. In just a couple of years, Boston was in the conversation as one of the best receivers in the NFL. Boston led the league with 1,598 yards receiving, which earned him a First-Team All-Pro spot, as well as a Pro Bowl selection.
Unfortunately, just as soon as Boston’s pro career took off, it fell apart. After heading to San Diego as a free agent in 2003, Boston was traded to the Dolphins after just one season with the Chargers. Prior to the 2004 season, Boston was suspended four games after testing positive for steroids, and later suffered a knee injury before the season began. Over six years in the league, Boston caught 315 passes for 4,699 yards and 25 touchdowns.
Between 2001-03, Michael Jenkins was one of the most solid wide receivers in college football. Even though Jenkins didn’t have the flash that some other receivers would display, he was always there when Ohio State needed him most, with “Holy Buckeye” being a perfect example of that. During three seasons with the Buckeyes, Jenkins caught 165 passes for 2,898 yards and 16 touchdowns. Jenkins' career receiving yardage topped Boston’s career total by 34 yards for most in school history.
The Atlanta Falcons selected Jenkins with the 29th pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. While he wasn’t a number one wideout, Jenkins was consistent, catching at least 36 passes in the final eight seasons of his nine-year NFL career. After seven seasons with the Falcons, Jenkins would finish up his NFL career by spending two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings.
Two years later, Santonio Holmes was taken with the 25th pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers. During three seasons at Ohio State, Holmes reached the end zone at least seven times in each season. To go along with his 25 career receiving touchdowns. Holmes had 140 catches for 2,295 yards.
After winning a national title with the Buckeyes, Holmes was a key member of Pittsburgh’s team that won Super Bowl XLIII, earning MVP honors for his game-winning catch against the Arizona Cardinals. Holmes was traded to the New York Jets following the 2009 season. During his nine seasons in the NFL, Holmes caught 389 passes for 6,030 yards and 36 touchdowns.
Ted Ginn Jr.
While he was at Ohio State, you could have told people that Ted Ginn Jr. was one of the fastest people on the planet, and you wouldn’t have been wrong. Ginn’s speed was on full display when he was returning kicks, as he would set a Big Ten record with six career punt records. As a receiver, Ginn would grab 135 passes for 1,943 yards and 15 touchdowns.
The Miami Dolphins would shock a lot of people when they took Ginn with the ninth pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Ginn had a hard time living up to the hype in Miami, eventually being traded to the San Francisco 49ers after three seasons with the Dolphins. All-in-all, Ginn would spend 14 years in the NFL, making stops in Carolina, Arizona, New Orleans, and Chicago. Ginn caught 412 passes for 5,742 yards, scored 33 receiving touchdowns, and added 7 more return touchdowns. About the only thing missing from Ginn’s career was a Super Bowl victory.
The second wide receiver Ohio State saw taken in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft was Anthony Gonzalez. Even though his career with the Buckeyes started off a little quiet, Gonzalez picked up speed in 2005, making a huge catch in the comeback win over Michigan. By 2006, Gonzalez teamed with Ginn to become one of the most dangerous wide receiver combos in the country. Gonzalez caught 87 passes for 1,286 yards and 13 scores in three seasons in Columbus.
The Indianapolis Colts drafted Gonzalez with the final pick in the first round in the 2007 draft. Indianapolis looked like the perfect spot for Gonzalez, as he would get to learn from Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. After catching 94 passes for 1,240 yards and seven touchdowns over his first two seasons with the Colts, the injury bug hit Gonzalez hard. Over the next three seasons, Gonzalez would play in just 11 games and catch five passes before retiring in 2012.