Marvin Harrison Jr. Ohio State Buckeyes Receiver

Spring Preview: Buckeyes Deep At Receiver, Looking For More Comfort


Ohio State returns 97.2% of its receiver catches from last season. They lose Jaxon Smith-Njigba, but never really had him last year. Marvin Harrison, Emeka Egbuka, and Julian Fleming did the bulk of the starting, and all three are back again this year. Fleming and Egbuka are out this spring recovering from surgeries, but both will be back in time for fall camp. Xavier Johnson and Jayden Ballard are the other two receivers who actually saw time when games were still in doubt. Johnson stepped up many times last year. Now it’s time for Ballard to do the same. Four second-year players return after combining for just two receptions as true freshmen. Three true freshman enrolled early and a fourth will join in the summer.

Scholarship Roster

Marvin Harrison, Jr, 6-4 205
Arguably the best player in the nation.

Emeka Egbuka, Jr, 6-1 205
Out for the spring, but a rare sophomore 1,000-yard receiver for OSU.

Julian Fleming, Sr, 6-2 205
Out for spring after season with highs and less highs.

Jayden Ballard, rSoph, 6-2 196
In line for big spring with Fleming on the shelf.

Xavier Johnson, Grad, 6-2 215
If he’s not the heart of the team, he’s at least one of the lungs.

Kyion Grayes, rFr, 6-0 185
Looked like Chris Olave in high school; will have opportunities this spring.

Kojo Antwi, Soph, 5-11 192
Played in five games last season as a true freshman but didn’t catch a pass.

Kaleb Brown, rFr, 5-10 197
Could be a big spring in the slot without Emeka Egbuka available.

Caleb Burton, rFr, 5-11 169
The lone member of the 2022 WR class to not see the field for the Buckeyes.

Carnell Tate, Fr, 6-2 180
Has earned comparisons to Michael Thomas and Marvin Harrison, Jr. in HS.

Noah Rogers, Fr, 6-2 195
Big, fast, strong, and natural; what else do you need?

Bryson Rodgers, Fr, 6-1 175
Could line up at any of the three receiver positions.

For Starters

The Buckeyes return everybody except for maybe the best receiver in the 2023 NFL Draft. Jaxon Smith-Njigba only caught five passes last year, and the Buckeyes learned how to live without him very early on. This spring, they will have to live without returning starters Emeka Egbuka and Julian Fleming as both are recovering from medical procedures. Marvin Harrison is still full strength, but probably won’t require all that much work this spring. With the number of young receivers who still need to make a mark, this spring will likely be designed for them. The Buckeyes are going to lose at least four key receivers after the 2023 season, so they better see what they’ve got on the roster while there is still time.

New Additions

Brian Hartline signed four talented receivers in the 2023 class, and three of them are already enrolled. Carnell Tate, Noah Rogers, and Bryson Rodgers are on campus readying for spring ball. Brandon Innis will join the team in June. Tate and Rogers were two of the higher-rated receivers in the class, and expectations for both are very high. Both are physical and fast, which they’ll need to be as they deal with an entire room of experienced cornerbacks.

Spring Depth Chart

Z Receiver

4Julian Fleming, Sr (Inj.)
9Jayden Ballard, rSoph
17Kyion Grayes, rFr
12Caleb Burton, rFr
NABryson Rodgers, Fr
Don’t get hung up on who is lined up where. Everybody will rotate and play all three positions at some point. These are all projections worth as much as the ink required to type this out. Receivers coach Brian Hartline may not even know who will be lining up where. With so many receivers who possess the same kind of frame, it’s no longer as easy to project who may be where. The situation at slot receiver should be close to accurate, however. Even though Xavier Johnson can play anywhere needed, as everyone saw last season.

X Receiver

18Marvin Harrison, Jr
14 Kojo Antwi, rFr
NACarnell Tate, Fr OR
NANoah Rogers, Fr

Slot Receiver

2Emeka Egbuka, Jr (Inj.)
10Xavier Johnson, sSr
13Kaleb Brown, rFr

What’s the Latest?

It will be interesting to see how Brian Hartline continues to operate as the wide receivers coach and new offensive coordinator. It’s probably best to just assume that it’s all going to go as well as it usually does for Hartline. Not having two starters available for spring should actually be a benefit to the team as a whole. This will be fantastic opportunity for OSU’s youth movement to get the blood flowing.


Don’t expect Marvin Harrison to be worked into the ground this spring. Nor Xavier Johnson. This spring should be about Jayden Ballard getting as much work as he needs, and the seven first- and second-year players developing as much as possible. Kaleb Brown looks to have a number of reps available to him in the slot this spring. He is a dynamic playmaker who has been spoken highly of by teammates. In terms of expectations for the true freshmen, Bryson Rodgers was the lowest-rated WR signee for the Buckeyes this year, so don’t be surprised when he’s making the most noise first. It wouldn’t be the first time.

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One Question Needing An Answer

Can the 2022 class hold off the 2023 class?

Breakout Candidate

With Emeka Egbuka out, and Xavier Johnson not really requiring a ton of reps this spring, the path is open for redshirt freshman Kaleb Brown to be one of the talks of camp. Brown made plays in practice last year out of the slot, and also proved to be an effective runner after the catch. The former high school running back is comfortable catching passes behind the line of scrimmage, or well down the field. Also keep an eye on true freshman Noah Rogers, who may just be a little bit different than everybody else.


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