The Ohio State Buckeyes passing offense in 2018 was one of the most prolific in school history. With quarterback Dwayne Haskins spreading the ball around to his array of targets, he accumulated over 4,800 passing yards and a whopping 50 touchdowns.
The NFL felt strongly about the talent that Ohio State had last season, reflected by the results of the NFL Draft. Haskins was selected 15th overall, wide receiver Parris Campbell was taken 59th, wide receiver Terry McLaurin was selected 76th and wide receiver Johnnie Dixon signed a priority free agent deal with the Texans.
Naturally, there has to be regression when losing that much talent in one offseason, right? Not necessarily at Ohio State.
The Buckeyes brought in Georgia transfer Justin Fields, once apart of a heated debate for the best high school quarterback in the country alongside Trevor Lawrence. While he’ll be just a true sophomore, I’d give Fields the nod over Haskins as far as natural talent and ability goes. That may not necessarily translate to the production that Haskins posted, but Fields’ talent could make for some explosive moments.
The scary part about the Buckeyes passing offense is that their wide receiver core may be just as good as last season, and potentially even better. Back again are four wide receivers who, as a group, could become one of the deepest and most talented in the country.
The leader of the pack will likely be K.J. Hill, a redshirt senior who produced 885 yards (second on the team behind Campbell) and 6 touchdowns last season. Along with him is Binjimen Victor, a rising senior with 12 touchdowns on 48 career receptions. Austin Mack has been in the same territory of production as McLaurin, Dixon and Victor over the past two seasons when he’s been healthy. Finally, true sophomore Chris Olave had 178 yards and 3 touchdowns over the final five games of the season last year.
Between Hill, Victor, Mack and Olave, the Buckeyes are loaded at the position once again, and all but Olave will likely be in the 2020 NFL Draft.
K.J. Hill is on track to break David Boston’s Ohio State career record for receptions, needing just 48 this season to do so. The former high school all-american has a game based on fluidity, both on the ground and in the air. In total control from the moment he gets out of his stance to the way he attacks the football, Hill’s quickness and deceleration allows him to separate well in the intermediate. He’ll almost certainly be in the conversation for the top 10 wide receivers in a potentially loaded 2020 class.
Binjimen Victor could be the most intriguing talent in the room, as the 6'4 receiver has dynamic upside at the catchpoint. With his length and body control, he's made some ridiculous grabs during his time at Ohio State. The Buckeyes will be looking for Victor to be more consistent as a senior, and the splash plays that he's made in the past suggest that he's ready for the increased workload.
Austin Mack is another wide receiver with excellent size, checking in at 6'2 and a stout 215 pounds. Despite a foot injury forcing him to miss six games last season, he enters the season already with 19 career starts. Before the injury, Mack started the season with at least 3 catches in the first 6 games, speaking to his consistency. If he's able to remain healthy this season, the former highly praised wide receiver recruit could be one of the top producers in the Big 10.
All three 2020 wide receivers, and sophomore Chris Olave, will be coached again this season by former NFL wide receiver Brian Hartline. Already one of the finer wide receiver coaches in the country, Hartline has found success developing the talent in Columbus. While this season provides a challenge due to less returning starting experience, this group of Buckeye wide receivers have tremendous upside.
Get ready to talk about another trio of Ohio State wide receivers in 2020.