2024 Ohio State Football position previews: Wide receivers

Ohio State football fans can be assured that the talent in the wide receiver room is still exceptional.

WR Emeka Egbuka
WR Emeka Egbuka / Jason Mowry/GettyImages
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"Spring is the time of plans and projects..." ~ Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Considered to be one of the greatest works of literature ever written (in case you are wondering, no, I have not yet read it), Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina focuses upon themes of betrayal, faith, family, marriage, Imperial Russian society, desire, and the differences between rural and urban life. While all of those are certainly worth deep introspection and contemplation, I am going to plead for the indulgence of Mr. Tolstoy as I apply his quote to the business of Ohio State football in 2024.

It would be a tremendous understatement to say that Ohio State football has been in the midst of a dramatic transformation as preparations for the 2024 season have begun. Players have left, and arrived, via the transfer portal. Other players (see below, for example) have declared for the 2024 NFL Draft. Coaches have been asked to leave, while new coaches have been brought into the program by Ohio State head coach Ryan Day.

Time, as the old expression goes, truly does march on. The 2024 Ohio State Buckeyes have been working intensely during winter conditioning sessions, and the calendar is getting ever so closer to the dawn of fifteen spring practices, beginning on March 5th.

Beginning with this article, I will be submitting weekly position group rankings of the 2024 Ohio State Buckeyes, from least concerning to mot, based upon my perceptions. These articles will conclude the week of the 2024 Ohio State Spring Game, scheduled for 1 pm ET on April 13th. As always, I encourage you to let me know what you think and let me know if you believe I have missed anything key in my analysis.

9th - Wide Receivers

Players Lost: Julian Fleming (via transfer portal to Penn State), Marvin Harrison Jr. (2024 NFL Draft declaration), Xavier Johnson (2024 NFL Draft declaration), Noah Rogers (via transfer portal to NC State)

Players Returning: Kojo Antwi, Jayden Ballard, Emeka Egbuka, Kyion Grayes, Brandon Inniss, Bryson Rodgers, Carnell Tate

Freshman Participating In 2024 Spring Practices: Jeremiah Smith

Freshman Arriving In Summer 2024: Mylan Graham

Why This Ranking?

It speaks volumes about the caliber of players that Ohio State WR Coach Brian Hartline has assembled in his time at Ohio State. Any other school losing a generational-caliber player such as Marvin Harrison Jr. would be facing an onslaught of questions about "How is Ohio State going to replace him?!?", and Ohio State is so well-stocked with talent that the question is not even asked.

Who Will Emerge?

Probably the best question to ask about this group. Emeka Egbuka had 41 receptions for 515 yards, averaging nearly 13 yards a catch, with 4 touchdown receptions, as well as 5 carries for 25 yards in rushing attempts. Egbuka battled injuries in 2023 and will be looking to make his final season in Columbus a positive one.

Carnell Tate had 18 receptions for 264 yards and 1 touchdown as a freshman in 2023, and was lauded by Marvin Harrison Jr. Tate should be in the mix to start.

Brandon Inniss only had 1 reception in 2023, but it was a memorable reception at Purdue, as a 58-yard touchdown reception. Inniss could emerge as an option in the slot wide receiver position.

When describing true freshman early enrollee Jeremiah Smith, longtime Florida high school recruiting analyst Larry Blustine, who has covered Florida football since the 1970s, said for a December 2023 article in The Athletic, "He’s top three all-time...he is definitely the best of his generation...". It is against that hype and backdrop that makes me believe Jeremiah Smith will be able to make his presence felt, and possibly emerge as a starting wide receiver by the end of the spring.

Will Brian Hartline finally rotate his deep position group this season?

Kojo Antwi, Jayden Ballard, Kyion Grayes, and Bryson Rodgers are overlooked, but each of those players needs to seize any and all opportunities that present themselves this spring. The aforementioned Jeremiah Smith, as well as another talented freshman wide receiver in Mylan Graham, will potentially leapfrog any and all of them on the depth chart. Graham will be arriving on campus this coming summer.

dark. Next. Next story. Ohio State has hired its last full-time coach

Antwi and Grayes have both battled injuries, while Ballard has been given opportunities as a punt returner. Rodgers actually put his name in the transfer portal, then decided to come back to Ohio State. While Brian Hartline has been reluctant to play his backups, it may be essential in 2024, with the advent of the new College Football Playoff that could increase a team's games substantially.