Ohio State's Top Receivers Enter Their Third-Straight Season As Contributors

By Kevin Harrish on May 27, 2018 at 5:01 pm
Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin are entering their third years.

This will be the third-straight season Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin and K.J. Hill are listed as starters on Ohio State's official depth chart.

The first season, the trio combined for just 497 yards and three touchdowns in a passing game dominated by Curtis Samuel and Noah Brown that never seemed to find its rhythm.

Last season, with a new offensive coordinator and larger roles in the offense, that production more than tripled, as the three receivers combined for 1,569 yards through the air with each player accounting for over 400 yards through the air.

It was an undeniable improvement, but it's still a long way from what Ohio State's top receivers looked like their its peak during the 2014 national championship season. That year, Devin Smith and Michael Thomas alone outpaced those three by nearly 200 yards, and when you toss in Jalin Marshall's 499 yards, it's nearly a 700-yard disparity.

To be fair, Ohio State's next three receivers last season – Johnnie Dixon, Binjimen Victor and Austin Mack – were significantly more productive than Dontre Wilson, Corey Smith and Evan Spencer were in 2014, showing a much more balanced attack through the air.

But the point still stands that the Buckeyes haven't gotten near the receiver production at the top from Campbell, McLauren or Hill that Smith, Thomas, Samuel or even Brown provided.

But there's still one more season.

All six of Ohio State's top receivers from the 2017 season elected to return this season, giving them one last shot at putting up Michael Thomas or Devin Smith numbers. And with a true pass-first, pocket passer at quarterback, they could also have more opportunities.

But even if nobody emerges to put up those numbers, it's not necessarily a problem if the unit as a whole produces. While one 1,000-yard receiver is flashy, a couple of consistent 500-yard receivers can be just as effective and possibly more difficult to defend.

Still, it's hard to not want the best of both worlds – a ton of production at the top, and consistency throughout the depth chart. And it's hard to imagine that's not what the coaching staff is looking for, too.

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