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Unpopular Opinion: Top recruits playing the same position shouldn’t choose the same school

With the recent commitment of three top-50 receivers in three days, it got me thinking— why would they all want to end up in the same room?

Ohio State Spring Game Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Ohio State just had a historic week in terms of football commitments. Three top-50 receivers including five-stars Carnell Tate and Brandon Inniss as well as four-star Noah Rodgers announced their intent to play for the Buckeyes in three consecutive days. As an Ohio State fan, I am obviously ecstatic about the abundance of riches our receiver room will have.

However, it also prompted the question: why would all of these top receivers want to play for the same program?

I think it has been established that the Buckeyes can hold the title of WRU. The receiver position hasn’t been a problem in the past decade at least. This season especially showed how top-notch that position is at the school. Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka probably could’ve been starters somewhere else if they weren’t playing alongside Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave and Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

Harrison was a four-star prospect and Egbuka was a five-star receiver. In fact, the latter was the No. 1 WR in the 2021 class. Yet, he only made nine receptions this season for 191 yards. It is so difficult to immediately come in and be “that guy”. Heck, JSN only had 49 receiving yards his freshman season, compared to 1,606 this year.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Rose Bowl Game - Ohio State v Utah Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The advantage for JSN, however, is that Wilson and Olave are both gone, so in what will most likely be his final season playing collegiately, he will end up with him being the No. 1 receiver on the team. As for Tate, Inniss and Rodgers, in addition to four-star commit Bryson Rogers, they are all in the same class, having to compete with each other each and every season. This doesn’t include the battle they will have for playing time with Egbuka, Harrison, and any other transfers or commitments.

I feel as if it is almost impossible for all four of these receivers to stay at Ohio State for the entirety of their collegiate career. I believe there will be a Jameson Williams situation at some point. Clearly, Williams is an extremely talented receiver, yet he just didn’t find playing time at Ohio State. Once he transferred to Alabama, he showed the world what he could do and ended up being a first round draft pick.

2022 CFP National Championship - Georgia v Alabama Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

I can certainly respect the commitment and confidence these guys have in themselves. It is great to see the love and dedication they have to Ohio State, and the belief each of them have that they will find success as a Buckeye. I want to make it clear that I am not bashing any of them or anyone in their same situation.

It is just so interesting to me that these players wouldn’t want to be the No. 1 or even No. 2 guy in their first or second year in college. They could experience immediate success if they went to a program with a less crowded receiver room. It would be an absolute shame if they didn’t get to show off their talents just because of who their teammates are. Imagine if Jameson Williams never transferred. What do you think would have happened to his career?

There are obviously pros that come out of being in the position that these four prospects will be in, though. They will inevitably have to build mental toughness as a result of the grind they will have to go through. They will have to trust in the work they put in and outwork everyone around them in order to be the best and see the field. Being in this competitive of an environment will have to elevate their play, making them the best receivers they can be. They also get the benefit of working under Brian Hartline, who has proven to be a tremendous developer of talent at the position.

On the flip side, they could also crumble. They might never get consistent playing time for this receiver-heavy program. The transfer portal could definitely come in handy. Yet, if they initially just played for a different school and found success there, their path to the NFL could be a heck of a lot easier.

All in all, I respect the decisions of each of these athletes and once again want to reiterate how happy I am that they decided to be Buckeyes. I’m just so curious about what will end up happening with their collegiate careers, and if it might have been better for them to play somewhere else.