Ohio State Football: Buckeye WR Group Brings Game-Changing Talent

The Ohio State football team has arguably the top receiving group with game-changing talent heading into the 2024 season locked and loaded.

Heading into the 2024 season, one of the certainties surrounding the Ohio State football team is a position group that always seems to be a strength of the team. Once again, the wide receiver room for the Buckeyes will feature some of the best wideouts in not just the Big Ten, but the entire country.

Marvin Harrison Jr., the best wide receiver in college football, and likely top-five draft pick leaves big shoes to fill with his departure from Ohio State. Julian Fleming, Ohio State’s third wide receiver in the depth chart for most of last season, transferred to Penn State this offseason. Although two talented wideouts are leaving the team, this group still has the chance to be special.

Emeka Egbuka was slated to be a high draft pick like his partner Harrison Jr., but he missed three games due to a lower-body injury. Ultimately, Egbuka decided to return for his senior season. Egbuka broke out his sophomore season in 2022, catching 74 passes for 1,151 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. He had five games registering 116 yards or more. In 2023, he battled injuries and never found that same groove from the year before, totaling 452 receiving yards and four touchdowns on 35 catches. A healthy Egbuka in the WR1 role is likely to be a scary pairing regardless of who plays quarterback.

Next up is Sophomore wideout Carnell Tate. The former five-star was the fourth option most of last season and made some big plays for the offense. He finished the year with 18 catches for 264 receiving yards and one touchdown, but will likely see a much bigger role. He had the fourth-most snaps amongst receivers and is expected to line up alongside Egbuka.

The player lining up next to these elite playmakers is to be determined. Jeremiah Smith may be a one-in-a-generation talent and a player who could see a rare start out wide as a freshman. Smith was rated as the top recruit in the entire country, according to 247Sports.

This past high school season he won his third straight state title and totaled 88 catches, 1,376 receiving yards, and 19 touchdowns. In his junior year, he also eclipsed 1,000 yards and had 20 touchdowns. His unique blend of size, strength, and speed, along with his catching ability, make for a very hard choice not to start. Especially with the team’s best players matching up with Egbuka, Smith could be in for some very big plays in his first collegiate season.

Another option alongside Egbuka and Tate is Brandon Inniss. Like Tate, Inniss also found the endzone his freshman year on his only catch, which he took for 58 yards to the house at Purdue. Innis was rated the fifth-best wide receiver recruit in the 2023 class and is one of the better route runners and ball skills guys on the team.

Like Tate last year, he will see time especially if there are injuries or blowouts. Innis will be able to initially begin the year as a starter if wide receiver coach Brian Hartline does not start talented true freshman Jeremiah Smith.

Next up behind this very talented group of receivers are fourth-year junior Jayden Ballard and five-star Mylan Graham. Ballard had just one catch in 2021 and had eight catches for 155 receiving yards and a touchdown in 2022. The speedster usually makes plays on special teams and in the punt return game and could see more production in the passing game in a younger unit.

Graham joined the group along with Smith and was another top wide receiver prospect in the 2024 recruiting class. In 2022 Graham finished his junior year with 48 catches for 1,149 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. He averaged 23.9 yards per reception and is great after the catch. His quickness and ability to high-point the football make him a guy who will learn from the best, and be a great addition when given the opportunity. 

Sophomore Bryson Rodgers, Junior Kyion Grayes, and Junior Kojo Antwi are other receivers who are talented and may be called upon barring unforeseen circumstances. With the departure of the best receiver in college football and another wide receiver starter, the Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver room is poised to reload, with the potential to produce even more than last year’s group did.