At Ohio State's final media availability before game week, wide receivers coach Brian Hartline met with reporters for the first time since April on Wednesday.
With just eight days remaining before the Buckeyes begin the 2021 season with a road matchup against Big Ten foe Minnesota, Hartline discussed his loaded position room in detail at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in Columbus.
Hartline talked about two members of his room being named team captains this past Saturday in redshirt junior Kamryn Babb and senior Chris Olave, the development of true freshmen Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka and why sophomore Jaxon Smith-Njigba has earned a starting role ahead of 2021, among other things.
Here's a rundown of everything Hartline touched on Wednesday:
- Kamryn Babb's work ethic has been "off the charts." Made an impact in between injuries, but was named captain due to his impact on others. People "idolize how he lives," Hartline says. "It's not about going above and beyond, it's about being consistent."
- Chris Olave isn't doing anything he hasn't already done in practice before this year, but is doing it "more often," Hartline says. "He operates at a very high level. ...To be named captain is a direct reflection of what he's done off the field."
- NIL has been no distraction, "it's been awesome, really." Hartline says his group is "so mature." Hartline is emphasizing quality over quantity when it comes to NIL opportunities.
- Julian Fleming has been running around "like a freight train" after his shoulder procedure this offseason. Hartline says Fleming has been making an impact on special teams as well.
- Hartline says Garrett Wilson, Olave and Jaxon Smith-Njigba could probably all play every wide receiver position at Ohio State.
- "The closer you are to the ball, the more important the position is," Hartline says when discussing the slot receiver position.
- Hartline says "from a growth perspective, every player has grown exponentially" over the past six months.
- Smith-Njigba's "dominant presence in the run game" as a blocker has been one thing that has stood out to Hartline this preseason.
- "We're pretty darn close to being game ready if you ask me," Hartline says.
- The most impressive thing about C.J. Stroud has been his calmness and poise, Hartline says. "C.J. absolutely has elevated our game."
- "I think we've done an immaculate job at identifying the right young men for Ohio State," Hartline says in reference to the Buckeyes' recruiting efforts at the wide receiver position.
- Hartline says he is no longer having "day one" conversations with Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka. He said both players would have 4.0 GPAs if not for one A- for Harrison.
- Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson are operating on a "1 percent basis," Hartline says. A lot of their growth has been off the field this offseason, Hartline says.
- Smith-Njigba earned a starting job this season because "the best players play." The consistency level and body of work of Smith-Njigba has impressed Hartline.