Brandon Inniss Feels ‘A Lot More Comfortable’ as Buckeyes Rising Sophomore

The Buckeyes got one of the moments they had been waiting for midway through last season at Purdue when five-star recruit and freshman wide receiver Brandon Inniss broke free 58 yards for the first touchdown of his Ohio State career.

Inniss caught a pass at the numbers from Devin Brown in the fourth quarter — the first reception of his career — before juking left and beating the Boilermakers defenders through the middle of the field to the end zone. Inniss said that moment was a highlight for him last season.

“I feel like it was just the adrenaline rushing,” Inniss said. “The celebration was more tiring than the run actually. Everybody jumped on me and stuff like that. But it was definitely a cool experience.”

The heralded wide receiver from Hollywood, Florida, is preparing for a larger role in Ohio State’s offense in 2024. Inniss saw time in eight games as a freshman last fall, and with the departure of All-American Marvin Harrison Jr., and seniors Julian Fleming and Xavier Johnson, he could emerge as a breakout candidate entering his sophomore season.

Inniss’ freshman campaign consisted of work done on offense and special teams, the latter of which has provided him experience returning kicks and punts. Over the course of last year, Inniss became more familiar with the game at the college level, and now in the middle of spring practice, he said he’s more accustomed to life at Ohio State.

“I’m definitely a lot more comfortable just because I’ve been here for almost a year now,” Inniss said. “I feel like the playbook is coming like second hand. It’s natural now to me. I’m just playing a lot faster. I feel like I’m not thinking as much when I’m out there.”

Inniss might find himself lining up as slot receiver next season. It’s a position previously filled by All-Big Ten wide receiver Emeka Egbuka, who will likely slide outside where Harrison played, and that could allow for Innis to garner more passes thrown his way.

Inniss described himself as “very quick” with a “very nice, quick twitch” to him. Standing 6-foot and 203 pounds, Inniss provides the athletic build that could allow for a receiver like himself to thrive in the slot position.

“I’m elusive, I’m strong. If I have to block bigger nickel backs or a linebacker and even safeties at times, I can do that,” Inniss said. “I can also play down the field as well, and my run after catch is pretty good. So I feel like I’m the perfect slot receiver, and I can also play outside. So that’s the thing: I’m trying to do both right now.”

Inniss experienced his first winter workouts at the start of the offseason, and he said he’s “done everything that I can do to play next year” whether that’s decreasing body fat or improving speed. Inniss said the first four spring practices “have been really good for me.”

He’s building a rapport with Ohio State’s receivers, some he’s already spent a year with teammates like Egbuka and Jayden Ballard, and he’s continuing to grow and develop alongside fellow 2023 classmate Carnell Tate and incoming freshman Jeremiah Smith Jr.

In a room surrounded by talented athletes, Inniss said he has high expectations for himself and his Buckeye teammates.

“They’re going to get the best receiving room in the country,” Inniss said. “We just want to be the best and we know when it’s our time to come, we’re going to do that and definitely get a national championship.”

Inniss said he’ll do “anything I need to do to play” whether that comes in kick or punt returns or in the offense.

He’s received high praise from coaches like Ryan Day and Brian Hartline. Those compliments could be enough for a receiver to feel good about positioning for next season, though for Inniss, it’s only the start.

“It definitely does, but I mean, I’m never satisfied so I just want to keep pushing,” he said. “I just want to keep being great. I’m still learning from Emeka, so anything I could take, any little nuggets I can take from him that he learned in the slot, it’ll add great value to my game.”

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