The Buckeyes went into the Tampa area to sign Bryson Rodgers out of Wiregrass Ranch High School in Zephyhills, Florida. Rodgers was one of four receivers signed by Ohio State in the 2023 recruiting class, and like classmates Noah Rogers and Carnell Tate, Rodgers enrolled early and took part in winter workouts and spring practice.
Rodgers was ranked the No. 357 overall player in the nation and the No. 49 receiver in the class. He signed with Ohio State over offers from Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Florida, Florida State, Miami, and many others.
What To Like
The list of things to like about Bryson Rodgers might just be able to fit on a CVS receipt. For one, he’s going to work for everything he gets, especially on third down. He fights for the ball, he fights for yards, and since he has arrived at Ohio State, he’s been fighting for playing time.
Rodgers has good size at 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds. He can be a red zone threat on the outside, or slant his way into the teeth of a defense near the goal line. He can line up wherever is needed. He packages athleticism with technique, determination, and a full understanding of what his job is from snap to snap.
Bryson Rodgers was in the slot this spring for the Buckeyes, which was a familiar situation for him. It can get crowded on the inside, but he’s perfectly comfortable in the traffic. He is an advanced route runner and takes advantage of being defended by safeties and linebackers. That doesn’t mean he can’t do the same to corners, it just means defenses need to take him seriously when he is on the field.
Rodgers is effective after the catch, which will allow him to be used both in the screen game and on quicker passes over the middle of the field. Coaches talk about spatial awareness of skill players, and Rodgers has plenty of it. It helps him in the slot and also after the catch. He is also perfectly capable of being a downfield target out of the slot or out wide, as he showed in the spring when he may have had the best catch of camp with a diving grab deep down the sideline.
Not that everybody is locked into a single receiver position, but it means something that receivers coach Brian Hartline has Bryson Rodgers starting out in the slot. If that sticks this year, that means he will be playing the same position as 1,000-yard receiver Emeka Egbuka and sixth-year senior (and possible captain) Xavier Johnson. Not to mention that fellow freshman Brandon Inniss will likely be in the slot as well.
It has always been difficult for true freshmen receivers to make a significant first-year impact at Ohio State, but as the season goes on, Rodgers will grow more comfortable and more capable. The receiver room will look much different for the Buckeyes next year, so don’t be surprised if Rodgers is a featured part of the OSU passing game in 2024.
The Bottom Line
Bryson Rodgers has a natural understanding of playing receiver, which is apparent no matter where he lines up. When he’s outside, defenders may not even get a hand on him. When he’s on the inside, he lures defenders into false steps and bad leans. He knows exactly what he is doing on every route.
The bottom line is that Rodgers has good size, good speed, and the kind of spatial awareness that coaches love. But most importantly, he has the willingness to work hard enough to make all of it come together.
Previous Closer Look editions
Quarterback Lincoln Kienholz | Wide Receiver Carnell Tate | Wide Receiver Brandon Inniss | Wide Receiver Noah Rogers | Tight End Jelani Thurman | Offensive Lineman Vic Cutler | Offensive Lineman Josh Simmons | Offensive Lineman Luke Montgomery | Offensive Lineman Joshua Padilla | Defensive End Joshua Mickens | Defensive Tackle Kayden McDonald | Defensive Tackle Jason Moore | Cornerback Jermaine Mathews, Jr. | Cornerback Calvin Simpson-Hunt | Cornerback Davison Igbinosun | Safety Ja’Had Carter | Safety Jayden Bonsu