Brandon Inniss was Ohio State’s highest-ranked signee in their 2023 recruiting class. The No. 35 player overall, Inniss was also ranked the No. 5 receiver in the nation. He was originally committed to Oklahoma, but when head coach Lincoln Riley left for USC, Inniss backed off of his pledge to the Sooners.
Inniss took his visits last summer and eventually committed to Ohio State last June. He attended American Heritage High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
What To Like
Checking in at 6-feet tall and 190 pounds, Brandon Inniss is a compact receiver who is just fine with contact, and strong enough to break it. He is not the tallest guy, but will go up and get the ball with perfect timing and strong hands. He plays bigger than he is, and he’s not exactly small.
Inniss even played quarterback as a high school junior due to an injury to a teammate. He lived life under pressure, but also learned to run through arm tackles with the read option. Regardless of the year, wherever he is on the field, Brandon Inniss has a precise GPS for himself and those who surround him. This also makes him a viable return specialist.
The clip below illustrates his field awareness. As he is running parallel with the line of scrimmage, the throw comes his way and he and the defender are on the same yard line. Inniss knows that if everybody stays on their current trajectory, the defender could make a play on the ball. So instead of the status quo, Inniss changes the timing by jumping upfield a yard or two to get the football before it gets to the defender. He didn’t wait on the ball like many receivers do. He went and claimed ownership of the ball, which he has done throughout his high school career.
Inniss is a very good route runner already, and can sit in a zone whenever the route calls for it. His awareness of the nearest defender makes him an effective target, and also a talented receiver after the catch. Below, you can see some of his route running ability.
As a prospect, Inniss was viewed by many as a guy who was more quick than fast, which is often a trait of talented slot receivers. The same has been said about former Buckeye Jaxon Smith-Njigba, for instance. That doesn’t mean Inniss is slow. He is an effective receiver in the screen game, which he will no doubt partake in at Ohio State.
There are many reasons Brandon Inniss is one of the top incoming freshman receivers in the nation. In big-time high school football and the nation’s best 7-on-7 tournaments, he stands above his competitors.
Inniss projects to the slot, which is a premier position in the Ohio State offense. The Buckeyes have had nine 1,000-yard receivers in school history. Three of those nine have played the slot in Ryan Day’s offense: Parris Campbell, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and Emeka Egbuka.
The average season for a slot receiver since Ryan Day arrived in 2017 is 67 catches for 960 yards and eight touchdowns.
The Ohio State slot receiver also carries the ball on jet sweeps and the like, which also suits Inniss quite well.
Ohio State signed four receivers in their 2023 recruiting class, and Brandon Inniss was the only one who didn’t enroll early. This automatically puts him behind his classmates, who all took part in winter and spring.. The other issue he has going against him this year is that if he does start out in the slot, he’s currently got Emeka Egbuka, Xavier Johnson, Kaleb Brown, Reis Stocksdale, and Bryson Rodgers ahead of him.
The 30-odd practices in fall camp will give him enough time to catch up and make some moves, but it’s going to be a tough haul. Inniss won’t have to solely exist in the slot, however, as receivers coach Brian Hartline will train him to play all three receiver spots.
And despite some thoughts that Inniss may be more quick than fast, don’t be fooled — he still has deep speed.
The Bottom Line
As a true freshman, Jaxon Smith-Njigba caught just 10 passes for 49 yards. As a sophomore, he caught a million passes for 10 million yards and nine touchdowns. From humble beginnings come great things. Don’t be surprised if Brandon Inniss has a similar humble beginning. Marvin Harrison and Emeka Egbuka are going to command the majority of the passes this year, followed by four or five others that right now do not include Inniss. There will be no shame if he doesn’t get into the mix this year, but also don’t be surprised if he is a known quantity by November.
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