Since taking over the Ohio State program back in 2019, Head Coach Ryan Day has successfully continued the trend of dominance that tOSU has experienced over the last decade. One of the key reasons for this sustained success stems from Coach Day's ability to recruit and develop elite receivers.
Since making his debut as head coach, Ohio State has produced a plethora of elite NFL talent at the receiver position. Since 2019, receivers coach Brain Hartline and Coach Day have secured a commitment from 16 different receivers who were ranked inside the top 151 players nationally in their high school classes. Additionally, six of these receivers were five stars, and 14 of them were top 100 players in their respective recruiting classes.
THE NFL Pipeline
While just landing these players alone is impressive, Coaches Hartline and Day have also done an excellent job of developing their receivers while at Ohio State. The first two recruits that Hartline brought in from the 2019 class both went in the first round of the NFL Draft this year. These players are Garrett Wilson (10th to the Jets) and Jameson Williams (12th to the Lions). Chris Olave, who was committed before the new staff came in also was drafted (11th to the Saints). Heading into this season, star receiverJaxon Smith-Njigba projects to be a top 10 pick in 2023, and sophomore receiver Marvin Harrison Jr could a first-round pick in the coming years as well. Many other members of the receiver room project to land at the NFL level as well.
Continued Recruiting Success
Given the success that Ohio State has experienced with the receiver room over the past few seasons, it makes sense that more top receiver recruits will want to attend the school as well. This leads to the last week, where coach Hartline got commitments from two of the top three receivers in the country in Carnell Tate and Brandon Inniss. If you thought it couldn't get better, well it did. On the day that Innis committed the Buckeyes also received a commitment from top 60 receiver Noah Rodgers as well.
Why should a recruit pick Ohio State?
From a recruit's perspective, committing to Ohio State makes perfect sense. You get to face off against a large portion of the best receiver talent in the nation on a daily basis in practice. Furthermore, if you commit to the process you will likely develop into an NFL-caliber receiver. This development will allow you to make millions as a professional, allowing you to have financial freedom for generations assuming you are responsible with your money. Speaking of making millions, you may have to wait until the NFL to start earning either.
Name, Image, and Likeness in Columbus
Earlier this month, Coach Day said in a speech to OSU donors that it would keep an estimated 13 million dollars a year in NIL money to keep the current roster intact. OSU players, in total, received more NIL money last year than any other team in college football. In order to maintain the roster and to stay on top of NIL across the nation, "NIL boosters" will have to continue to shell out significant money to keep players happy.
The average bench player at Ohio State is likely good enough to start on most college teams. In order to keep depth pieces from transferring, NIL organizations will have to find ways to incentivize coming off of the bench at Ohio State.
Impacts from the Transfer Portal
Of course, the risk of bench players transferring isn't an issue unique to Ohio State. Every team in college football deals with it to some extent. Schools like OSU, Alabama, and Georgia have benches better than a lot of starters at other programs. With an active NIL support base, these schools quickly replace anyone who transfers out with other transfers who were stars on their prior teams. Examples of this from the last cycle include Jahmyr Gibbs transferring from Georgia Tech to Alabama andJordan Addison transferring to USC from Pitt.
Why commit so early in the 2023 cycle?
Circling back to the thought of elite high school receivers considering Ohio State, the transfer portal aspect adds extra pressure to commit earlier on. If recruits drag their feet for too long, schools like OSU can just take an elite receiver from the portal instead. Knowing that the best opportunities could disappear quickly, we've seen highly rated receivers jump on offers from schools much earlier in this cycle than in past years. Ohio State has three top 60 receivers committed in the 2023 class and it's not even July.
It is safe to state that Ohio State has earned the designation as the top destination for elite receiver prospects. While other programs could threaten this position in the future, Alabama and USC come to mind, for now, Ohio State has officially established itself as WR-U.