Ohio State Wide Receivers Jaylen Harris, Ellijah Gardiner No Longer on Team

By Dan Hope on June 29, 2021 at 5:54 pm
Jaylen Harris and Ellijah Gardiner

The two wide receivers who were in line to be the longest-tenured players in that room this season are no longer with the Ohio State football team.

Jaylen Harris and Ellijah Gardiner, who were both set to be fifth-year seniors for the Buckeyes this season, are no longer on the Ohio State football team's 2021-22 roster.

Lettermen Row's Jeremy Birmingham first reported their departures from the team earlier this month.

Neither of their departures from the team comes as a major surprise, as neither of them appeared in any games in 2020 nor were they expected to see significant playing time in 2021. In a loaded wide receiver room led by senior Chris Olave, junior Garrett Wilson, sophomores Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming and freshmen Emeka Egbuka, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Jayden Ballard, Harris and Gardiner were buried on the depth chart with no likely path to the field.

However, their departures leave Ohio State with just eight scholarship players at the wide receiver position, which has now had six departures this offseason with Jameson Williams transferring to Alabama, Mookie Cooper transferring to Missouri, Gee Scott Jr. moving to tight end and Demario McCall moving to cornerback. Redshirt junior wide receiver Kamryn Babb's status for the 2021 season also remains in question after he suffered another injury this spring.

That likely explains why Ohio State made a scholarship offer earlier in June to Daylen Baldwin, a graduate transfer wide receiver from Jackson State who ultimately chose Michigan. While Baldwin would've needed to compete just to earn a spot on the two-deep for the Buckeyes, he would have provided valuable depth and experience, as Olave and Wilson are now the only healthy scholarship upperclassman wideouts on the roster.

Harris and Gardiner were both members of the recruiting class of 2017, in which Harris was ranked as the No. 177 overall prospect and No. 28 wide receiver while Gardiner was ranked as the No. 796 overall prospect and No. 115 wide receiver. In their four seasons with the Buckeyes, Harris caught five passes for 54 yards while Gardiner caught one pass for 10 yards.

Their departures bring Ohio State down to 85 total scholarship players, but the Buckeyes still have five available scholarships for the 2021 season, as McCall, Antwuan Jackson, Thayer Munford, Haskell Garrett and Marcus Williamson – who are “super seniors” using the extra year of eligibility given to all players by the NCAA last year – do not count against this year's scholarship limit.

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