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Scarlet Sunrise: Garrett Wilson explains why Ohio State has such strong receiver pipeline right now

IMG_7408by:Andy Backstrom06/02/24

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Good morning, Ohio State fans, and welcome to the Scarlet Sunrise. Football will always be our focus, but every day we’ll cover news, notes and analysis from across Buckeyes sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Buckeyes football, recruiting, basketball and more in Scarlet Sunrise.

Garrett Wilson explains why Ohio State has such strong receiver pipeline right now

Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave became the first pair of rookies from the same school to record 1,000 receiving yards in the same NFL season back in 2022.

Then they both hit that milestone yard marker again in 2023.

Wilson won AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year with the New York Jets. Now firmly established as the New Orleans Saints WR1, Olave was in contention for that award two seasons ago, too.

Marvin Harrison Jr. could win it this year with the Arizona Cardinals, who made him the highest-drafted wide receiver in Ohio State history this spring.

Don’t forget about Jaxon Smith-Njigba, either. Although he didn’t reach the 1,000-yard receiving barrier as a rookie, he finished third on the Seattle Seahawks in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns last season. Plus, he just got some glowing remarks about his work ethic from Seattle head coach Mike Macdonald.

In a Jets OTAs press conference this week, Wilson was asked a question along the lines of why Ohio State has such a strong college-to-NFL receiver pipeline right now.

Unsurprisingly, competitive approach and practice habits were at the center of Wilson’s answer.

“I think they recruit a certain type of receiver,” Wilson said of the Buckeyes. “There’s lots of five-stars — not a lot but a good amount — each cycle, and the ones that want to come to Ohio State ain’t scared to go play with another five-star and the one that came in before him, which says a lot about someone. It says a lot about the confidence they have in their ability and their willingness to come in and learn and just get better.

“The main thing I’ll say is we know how to practice. We make practice as hard as possible so the game is what it is, and when you have these other five-stars around you — in my time, it was Jameson [Williams], Chris Olave, Marvin, Jaxon — we all was competitive as hell. Every single day, if I made a play, Jamo was like, ‘Man, watch what I’m about to do.’ Chris was like, ‘Watch what I’m about to do.’ And I think that brings out the best in guys.”

That holds nowadays, too. Even though Harrison is gone, his after-hours, pass-catching sessions with the Monarc machine are still happening inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, with a veteran like senior Emeka Egbuka and a newcomer like true freshman Jeremiah Smith both taking part.

Ohio State has had four wideouts taken in the first round of the last three NFL Drafts. And the Buckeyes have a chance to add to that running total next year if Egbuka can turn in a special final season in Columbus.

“Obviously we got a great coach there that gets this thing rolling and instills it in us,” Wilson said, referencing receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator Brian Hartline, “but I think it says a lot about the way they recruit the guys that they decide to go get.”

Wilson added: “Most guys want to go and be the guy. At O-State, it’s like, nah nah nah, you’re going to get it on the back end. But come here and learn for a little bit and put in the work and learn how to practice and learn how to go about your business, and it will all pay off on the back end.”

It’s possible a player like Smith — the On3 Industry Ranking’s No. 1 overall prospect in the 2024 class — will be the exception to the rule, but typically true freshman wideouts don’t get starter-level snaps at Ohio State. Regardless, the talent of the Buckeyes’ best receivers shines through eventually.

And that competition to even see the field at Ohio State has ultimately propelled receivers such as Wilson, Olave and Smith-Njigba to immediate NFL success.

Best-case, worst-case scenario for Buckeyes running back room

Lettermen Row “Running Backs Week” is coming to an end, and that means it’s time for another best-case, worst-case exercise.

The Buckeyes could have the best running back duo in the country this season, thanks to the dynamism of both TreVeyon Henderson and Quinshon Judkins. But if injuries derail the backfield, even more so than they have the last two seasons, Ohio State could find itself in some trouble, especially considering how inexperienced the Buckeyes are beneath their top-two backs on the depth chart.

While the best-case scenario is more likely, the Buckeyes’ running back success will largely depend on (1) health and (2) offensive line play.

Check out our analysis here.

Five-Star Plus+ CB commit Na’eem Offord is helping Ohio State recruit Alabama

Five-Star Plus+ Birmingham (Ala.) Parker cornerback Na’eem Offord committed to Ohio State on Feb. 4. Not only is he still locked in with the Buckeyes, but he’s also focused on peer recruiting in his home state to help Ohio State finish the 2025 cycle with the top-rated class.

There are two targets in particular Offord is going to try to convince to commit to Ohio State. Both will be in Columbus for an official visit the weekend of June 21-23, and so will Offord.

“I’m gonna go get them, I’m gonna get them,” Offord told Lettermen Row. “I’m gonna be building relationships with them, the coaches and the players that are there already.”

For the full story, go here.

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