This is the second installment in a series where Buckeye Huddle looks back on each member of Ohio State’s 2023 signing class and the impact they had as rookies, as well as the impact they could have during the upcoming 2024 season. Up next is receiver Brandon Inniss.
Brandon Inniss was the No. 1 receiver prospect in the 2023 recruiting class according to Rivals.com, and the No. 6 player in the nation overall. He attended American Heritage High School in Florida where as a senior he caught a school-record 66 passes for 1,244 yards and posted 14 touchdown receptions. As a junior, he was forced into action at quarterback as well.
Back in August of 2021, Inniss committed to Oklahoma but then decommitted and reopened his recruitment three months later. He took visits to Miami, Florida State, USC, Ohio State, and Alabama, and ultimately committed to the Buckeyes in June of 2022. He signed with OSU in December of 2022, but did not enroll until June of 2023.
Because Brandon Inniss (6-0 207) did not enroll until the summer last year, he missed out on the experience and opportunity provided by winter workouts and spring practice. This put him behind what was already a stacked receiver room, especially in the slot where he played, but he still impressed his teammates with his effort and ability.
“Brandon, he came in, the last out of those four receivers and he’s picking up the offense extremely fast,” Emeka Egbuka said back in August. “He’s a joy to be around, but he’s such a great competitor. Him and Carnell [Tate] go back and forth a lot, which is really funny to be a part of and be around. But Brandon is a huge playmaker. He goes up and attacks the ball. He’s strong, he’s confident, and he goes out there and he just balls. He just tries his hardest. He tries his best and there’s never a half-hearted rep with him.”
With Ohio State trying to get more opportunities in the slot for All-American Marvin Harrison, and also having veterans Emeka Egbuka and Xavier Johnson there as well, snaps where not all that plentiful for either Inniss or fellow freshman slot receiver Bryson Rodgers as true freshmen.
Despite the depth chart, Inniss still played in every game this past season except for the Notre Dame game, which is a recurring theme among many of the young Buckeyes in 2023. While Inniss played in 12 games, he only saw snaps on offense in six of those contests. He spent most of his season on special teams, which can also be a sign of good things to come for freshmen.
Inniss saw his largest number of snaps this past season (9) in the Cotton Bowl loss to Missouri, but did see time on offense in three of the Buckeyes’ final four games. He only caught one pass as a true freshman, but he made it count. It went for 58 yards and a touchdown against Purdue.
So Now What For Brandon Inniss?
Even though he only had about a half a game’s worth of snaps total last season, Brandon Inniss enters the offseason as the Buckeyes’ fourth-most experienced receiver for 2024. Ahead of him are Emeka Egbuka, Carnell Tate, and Jayden Ballard. There is a version of the future that has Inniss starting in the slot this season for Ohio State.
In terms of what that could look like for Inniss, since Ryan Day has arrived at Ohio State, the average statistical season for the Buckeyes’ top slot receiver is 65 receptions for 892 yards and eight touchdowns. That’s obviously a lot to put on a second-year player, especially when it’s not even known where everybody is lining up. Egbuka could return to the slot as a senior and that would change all of the projections and rotation.
The good news for Brandon Inniss is that this is a much less crowded receiver room than it was a year ago, which means he should be a much more regular contributor for the Buckeyes as a sophomore.
And if you really want to get crazy and supremely unfair, the average season for Ohio State’s starting slot receiver under Ryan Day when they are true sophomores looks like this: 71 receptions, 1,160 yards, and eight touchdowns. And those averages include the COVID year where Garrett Wilson played in just eight games.
Nobody should expect those kinds of numbers from anyone, but what you can expect from Inniss this season is to continue to uphold the standard that Ohio State receivers have established.
“Brandon was in a spot where you get into June, did a great job catching up quickly, frankly, but a deep room,” OSU offensive coordinator Brian Hartline said prior to the Cotton Bowl. “Still learning, and to have Xavier and Emeka and have these guys doing a good job, that was really important. Carnell playing a part and then we having some injuries and being able to move Carnell into the slot — I mean, he can do whatever you want him to do — so that’s a good sign of a good player. So Brandon is doing everything he needs to do, and I think his future is very bright.”