If the Ohio State passing game drops a few notches from last season, it should not be because of a lack of experience at wideout.
Despite losing three of their top four receivers in terms of yardage and touchdowns, the Buckeyes still return a significant amount of production — 117 catches for 1,570 yards from the top three returners alone.
Our 2019 season preview continues with the receivers.
Returning starter: Austin Mack
Rising: K.J. Hill, Binjimen Victor, Chris Olave,
Others: Jaylen Harris, Kamryn Babb, Elijah Gardiner, Jaelan Gill, C.J. Saunders, Kamryn Babb, Austin Kutscher, Darryl Sinclair, De’Shawn White, Sam Wiglusz
Newcomers: Garrett Wilson, Jameson Williams, Alec Koch
Although he technically has not been a full-time starter, Hill has caught a pass in 34 straight games and is already one of the most productive receivers in Ohio State history. The 6-foot, 195-pound Arkansas native is No. 6 on the OSU receptions list with 144 and his 1,696 receiving yards are 18th.
Mack started eight games as a junior last season before suffering a foot injury, and the senior from Fort Wayne, Ind., has 52 catches for 689 yards and three touchdowns.
Victor is a 6-4, 205-pound senior with 48 career catches for 767 yards and 12 touchdowns who would like to show he is more than a red zone threat in his last college go ‘round.
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Olave did not bust into the rotation until the last month of last season, but he busted out with a pair of touchdown catches against Michigan and finished with 12 catches for 197 yards and three touchdowns on the season. The sophomore from California is expected to contribute big things this fall.
Harris, a 6-5 junior from Cleveland, was passed on the depth chart last season but reportedly had a strong spring.
Gill redshirted last season, but the four-star prospect from Westerville South could be one of the most electric Buckeyes with the ball in his hands. Along with Hill, he could give Ohio State a great one-two punch at slot receiver.
Koch is a freshman walk-on from Lebanon.
Although there is no shortage of players for coach Brian Hartline to plug into his rotation, Wilson might prove to be too talented to keep off the field. The five-star freshman from Texas enrolled early and plays bigger than the 6-foot, 188 pounds listed by his name, particularly when it comes to going up to get the ball.
Quotable: Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson on the young receivers: “Skill set, really good. Now, we’re talking about being a really good team in November, so are they really good enough right now as they try to understand how to take care of their body so that the body has the wear and tear and they’re great practice players on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, get the timing you need for the quarterback?
“Those young, talented players are going to play more. Chris played so great last year as a freshman, Garrett comes in very talented and had great runs in Texas on a tremendous high school team. Still, the physicalness of the game, the constant contact, people tugging on you and the blocking you’ve got to do.”
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