Emeka Egbuka

Spring Preview: Buckeye Receivers Not As Deep, Still Talented


The Buckeyes lose four receivers from last year’s team, including All-American Marvin Harrison, Jr. Fortunately, Emeka Egbuka returns and looks to get back to his sophomore form where he was a 1,000-yard receiver. Sophomore Carnell Tate should step up in a much larger form after a promising freshman season. There are six other scholarship players taking part in spring ball as receivers coach Brian Hartline looks to find a working rotation before camp is over. The receivers outside of Egbuka have combined for 29 career catches — and 18 of them belong to Tate.

Scholarship Roster

Emeka Egbuka, Sr, 6-1 206
Could become second Buckeye receiver ever with two 1,000-yard seasons.
Jayden Ballard, rJr, 6-2 198
The fastest player on the team entering his biggest spring.
Kyion Grayes, rSoph, 6-0 187
Dealt with injuries last year as a redshirt freshman.
Kojo Antwi, rSoph, 5-11 194
Has yet to find consistent playing time.
Carnell Tate, Soph, 6-2 191
Following up a solid freshman season with high expectations as sophomore.
Brandon Inniss, Soph, 6-0 207
Played in nearly every game last year but mostly special teams.
Bryson Rodgers, rFr, 6-2 185
Entered the transfer portal after the season but returned soon after.
Jeremiah Smith, Fr, 6-3 200
The top receiver in the 2024 recruiting class.
Mylan Graham, Fr, 6-1 185
Five-star receiver whose first scholarship offer came from Ohio State.

For Starters

Emeka Egbuka put the NFL off for a year to return to Ohio State for his senior season. This will be his third year as a starter for the Buckeyes. Outside of him, however, there is almost no other starting experience. Carnell Tate started in the Cotton Bowl because Marvin Harrison, Jr. opted out of the game, and he is expected to fill some of Harrison’s void this season. The Buckeyes will be searching for a third starter, but Brian Hartline’s quest won’t stop there. There is enough versatility with this group that there could be several different starting lineups throughout the season. For now, however, Hartline is looking for the next guy he can trust, then another, and another.

New Additions

There is only one new addition this spring for the Buckeyes, but it’s quite the addition. Jeremiah Smith is ranked as the top player overall in the 2024 recruiting class by 247Sports, Rivals, and On3. According to the composite rankings of On3 and 247Sports, only six players over the past decade have been rated higher than Smith: Rashan Gary, Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Quinn Ewers, Walter Nolen, and Travis Hunter. Mylan Graham will enroll in June. He is ranked the No. 7 receiver in the class overall.

Spring Depth Chart


9Jayden Ballard OR
NAJeremiah Smith OR
7Kyion Grayes


17Carnell Tate
14Kojo Antwi


2Emeka Egbuka
11Brandon Inniss
86Bryson Rodgers

Don’t get too hung up on a preseason depth chart of a receiver group that is still being slotted into their eventual positions while also learning how to play all three receiver spots and showing up anywhere at any time.

What’s The Latest

It will be interesting to see where Emeka Egbuka is lining up. Egbuka will ultimately play everywhere, but his presence will affect the rest of the receivers. Maybe this spring there’s no need to pencil him in anywhere since his reps will be limited. But if he’s in the slot, then do you keep Brandon Inniss and Bryson Rodgers there as well? Does Egbuka want to get more work outside to help his draft stock in a year? He played about a third of his snaps outside last year as Marvin Harrison, Jr. was moved into the slot at times because the offense was looking for matchups. Moving various players into the slot will be the case again this year, however, as Brian Hartline, head coach Ryan Day, and offensive coordinator Chip Kelly look for as many advantages as they can find.


This is not the deepest group of receivers that Brian Hartline has ever had, which means that everybody should get a good amount of work this spring, save for Emeka Egbuka. Jayden Ballard has had good springs before, but it’s time for a great spring from the redshirt junior. He has the speed outside that will make for some big plays this spring, but consistency is the true answer to playing time. The same could be said of redshirt sophomore Kyion Grayes, who has dealt with injuries during his career. This will be the second spring for redshirt freshman Bryson Rodgers, so he knows what to expect.

One Question Needing An Answer

Can a rotation be found this spring? Linebackers coach James Laurinaitis talked about wanting to find four guys he can trust this spring. Can Brian Hartline do the same? There have been seasons where Hartline really only played three receivers regularly. That number expanded to five last year. Can he find five guys this spring that will be in the rotation this fall? The lack of experience is a concern, but it also means the barriers to earning a job aren’t as steep as they have been in the past. There will still be a standard that needs to be met, but there is definitely an opportunity within reach for players who have spent most of their time at OSU watching from the sideline.

Breakout Candidate

This will be the first spring for Brandon Inniss, who enrolled last June. He saw snaps on offense in six games last year, but never received any regular playing time outside of special teams. He is one of the quickest receivers on the team, which makes him a dynamic player after the catch. Being a slot receiver, he had a completely stacked depth chart ahead of him last year. With Marvin Harrison, Jr. no longer moonlighting at slot, and sixth-year senior Xavier Johnson off to the NFL, the path to playing time has never been better for Inniss or classmate Bryson Rodgers. Rodgers has earned positive remarks from his teammates for his high production marks in practice. After entering the transfer portal following the season and then returning, the focus may be a little more rigid. Both players have made plays in practice, and neither needs to be tied to the slot in order to make more.


Defensive Tackle: Buckeyes Surround Returning Starters With Youth

Offensive Line: Buckeyes Much Deeper Than They Were A Year Ago

Defensive Ends: Ohio State Defensive Ends Just Getting Started

Tight Ends: Buckeye Tight Ends Have Big Shoes To Fill

Linebackers: Two New Starters Must Be Found

Running Backs: Thunder, Lightning, And More

Cornerbacks: Deep, Talented, And Competitive

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