Ohio State Buckeyes: Garrett Wilson living up to expectations, eyeing OSU greats

Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson (5) catches a pass in front of Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker (1) during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. Ohio State won 38-25. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)
Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson (5) catches a pass in front of Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker (1) during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. Ohio State won 38-25. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

Credit: Barry Reeger

Credit: Barry Reeger

For Ohio State receiver Garrett Wilson, the first three games of the 2020 season have appeared to be a confirmation of what he was expected to be coming out of Lake Travis High School in Austin, Texas, two years ago.

“When I watched Garrett play in high school and got to know he and his family, I could tell you that my expectations for him when he got here were about what’s going on right now,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said Tuesday. “I always felt like he was very, very talented and had a chance to be very special.”

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Wilson was a five-star prospect in the Class of 2019 and the No. 2 receiver in the country according to 247Sports Composite rankings.

He played in all 14 games last season and caught 30 passes for 432 yards and five touchdowns.

This season he has expanded his role, playing in the slot at times, and already caught 24 passes for 344 yards and two touchdowns.

He has hit triple digits in receiving yards three games in a row, something not accomplished by a Buckeye since David Boston, who did so twice in 1998.

In a normal season of at least 13 games, Wilson would be on pace to narrowly break Boston’s single-season school record of 1,435 yards, but he is still on track to become the sixth Buckeye to go over 1,000 receiving yards in a season even if the Buckeyes only play nine or 10 games.

“As a receiver, you’ve got personal goals,” Wilson said. “One hundred yards usually is a landmark of a good game for a receiver. There’s a lot of other ways to get that done, but 100 yards is a good stat, a good benchmark number.”

Wilson also sounded old beyond his years as the sophomore espoused the importance of blocking and deflected praise to quarterback Justin Fields and fellow receivers such as Chris Olave, Jameson Williams and Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

“Being in this offense and playing with someone like Justin, he’s always going to put it where it needs to be so I mean it’s on me, Chris, ‘Jamo’ and Jaxon to make the play at that point. I feel like I’ve been put in a lot of good situations to make plays.”

Although Ohio State was not known for its passing game very often in the first 11 decades or so the forward pass was legal in college football, Day has done a lot to change that since arriving as quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator in 2017.

He helped J.T. Barrett improved his efficiency and accuracy as a senior that season then oversaw Dwayne Haskins rewriting the record book in 2018.

Ohio State has also made a habit of sending pass catchers to the NFL, though that is not entirely new.

In April, K.J. Hill became the third Buckeye receiver drafted in the past two years, joining Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin.

Ohio State had nine receivers taken in the NFL Draft in the last decade after totaling 10 from 2001-10 and eight in the 1990s.

While Haskins was throwing for 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns — both Big Ten records — Wilson was a high school senior thinking about where he might fit into Day’s attack.

“I saw a lot of things that I wanted to be a part of, so I tried to come in with no expectations,” Wilson said. “I wouldn’t I wouldn’t say as far as personal things go I had expectations coming in, but just the way the offense has gone these last two years and the way we’re opening up in the passing game, yeah I expected this.”

Day said Wilson “can be as good as he wants to be.”

“The first thing that stands out is his talent,” Day said. “He’s tremendously skilled. His ball skills are excellent, and his change of direction and ability to accelerate in the short area is just tremendous. And the other part is just his timing downfield, going up going to get balls. His ceiling is just as high as it wants to be, and he’s improved. And I think the better he practices, the harder he plays, the better he’s going to be.”

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