Ohio State wide receiver Emeka Egbuka

Expect Emeka Egbuka To ‘Bounce Around’ This Spring

Last year was not the junior season that Ohio State wide receiver Emeka Egbuka expected. As a sophomore, Egbuka caught 74 passes for 1,151 yards and 10 touchdowns. It was the kind of season that was supposed to propel him to even bigger heights as a junior.

Unfortunately for Egbuka, quarterback CJ Stroud left for the NFL, which significantly impacted the Ohio State passing game. And then five games into the season Egbuka suffered an ankle injury that required surgery.

Egbuka only missed three games, but was never fully healthy the rest of the regular season. He finished the year with 41 catches for 515 yards and four touchdowns.

He is back full go this spring for the Buckeyes, however, and ready to start building towards his final season at Ohio State.

“I feel great,” Egbuka said last week. “I’ve been working with my trainers. We have the best training staff in the nation. They’re getting me right every single day to be able to put my best foot forward this spring. And I’m looking forward to doing that.”

The Buckeyes are currently on spring break following their first two practices of spring camp last week. There will be some major changes with the Ohio State offense, as a new quarterback will be taking over and two-time Unanimous All-American Marvin Harrison, Jr. is off to the NFL.

Egbuka now becomes the top dog in the Ohio State passing offense, but exactly where he will be lining up from snap to snap is still up in the air. He spent his first year outside, and then was going to be outside again in 2022 but an injury to starting slot receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba forced Egbuka into the slot. It went well for him there, and he also spent most of his time there last year as well.

He has the ability to play any of the three receiver positions in OSU’s offense, which will help receivers coach Brian Hartline integrate others into the rotation.

“Probably bouncing around to a couple of different spots,” he said of the plans this spring. “Just honing my craft on the inside and outside in preparation for the next level. So I don’t necessarily know where I’m gonna be playing at the next level. So I just want to continue honing my craft everywhere I can.”

Emeka Egbuka was back outside in the Cotton Bowl against Missouri, which was perhaps a precursor to the spring. Spring practice for veterans like Egbuka is designed for them to work on their final touches, and he doesn’t have many left. But more work on the outside as an “X” receiver against some very talented Buckeye corners certainly won’t hurt.

“I just feel like if you get the ball in my hands on the outside quickly, I feel very confident with the ball in my hands and my ability to gain yards after the catch,” he said. “And on the outside, you even have more of a mismatch because you’re not matched up with linebackers and safeties. You’re typically lined up with corners who are smaller in frame and not as great tacklers. So I feel like just having that [yards after the catch] ability on the outside has a huge potential for X plays.”

When a receiver refers to being defended by cornerbacks as a mismatch in his favor, you have to like his confidence. Egbuka also has the kind of experience to mentor all of the younger receivers on the team as well. Overall, this is a pretty young group, and nobody has played as many snaps among the receivers as Egbuka. In fact, he’s played more snaps in his last 12 games than the rest of the Ohio State receivers have played in their entire careers combined.

As such, he is going to be an extremely valuable resource for his teammates, which won’t be an issue at all for him.

“Yeah, I’ve always felt like a leader ever since I was growing up,” he said. “The leadership role is something that I feel a lot of pride about in any area of my life. But something I’m so passionate about such as football, I feel even more drive to be a leader. So being that I’m the older guy in my fourth year, I have a lot of experience on the field.”

Just like the receivers who paved the way for Emeka Egbuka, he is trying to prepare himself for the next step of his football career, but he’s also going to be an exceptional resource for his younger teammates trying to do the same.

“I’m just trying to pass down that knowledge that I’ve acquired and accumulated over these last four years to keep the track record of Zone 6 that we have going,” he said.

Go to discussion...