Garrett Wilson might have already played his last game at Ohio State, he could play in one final game as a Buckeye or he could be back with the Buckeyes for another season.
As of Friday afternoon, when Wilson made an appearance on 97.1 The Fan’s Rothman and Ice, the Ohio State wide receiver hadn’t yet decided whether he will enter the 2022 NFL draft and whether he will play in Ohio State’s yet-to-be-determined bowl game.
In the meantime, Wilson says he’s still working at his craft and making sure he stays ready to play at his best if he does take the field in the Buckeyes’ final game of this season.
“I’ve been just taking it day by day,” Wilson said. “A lot is uncertain right now, and with these games tomorrow, we’ll know some more. But I’ve just been trying to take it day by day, still get better and work on my craft so that if it does come where we’re playing in the playoff or playing in a bowl game at the end of the year and I’m playing, I’m able to produce like I know I can. So it’s one thing to stay ready. I feel like you gotta stay ready at all times, so I’m trying to take that mindset with me everywhere.”
While it’s not yet entirely out of the realm of possibility that Ohio State could still make the College Football Playoff, it’s much more likely the Buckeyes will play in the Rose Bowl if Michigan wins the Big Ten Championship or the Peach or Fiesta Bowl if Iowa wins the Big Ten Championship. And Wilson says the Buckeyes aren’t getting their hopes up that chaos this weekend will give them a path back into the CFP.
“Honestly, between the team and my friends on the team, our mindset is we’re not playing in the playoff,” Wilson said. “We lost this game against the team up north last week, which still hurts as much as it does, and we didn’t handle business. If you don’t handle business, you don’t get rewarded. So our mindset was we’re probably not gonna be playing in the playoff, and if something comes back to where we are gonna end up playing in the playoff, we’ll take that as it is and get back to work and get ready to play. But as of right now, our mindset’s that we’ll probably be looking at a Rose Bowl or Peach Bowl or something like that.”
As for last weekend’s 42-27 loss to Michigan, Wilson says the Buckeyes knew they were going to be in for a tough challenge against their rivals but simply didn’t play well enough to win.
“I can’t say it’s something we didn’t anticipate. We knew we were playing the team up north, and it’s the best rivalry in the game, so we expected a super competitive game,” Wilson said. “The game plan they came out with was to score first and keep us on the sideline as long as they did and have the stadium be involved, I’d say those are things that are hard to prepare during the week of practice. But I feel like we were prepared game plan-wise, but as far as the elements of the game, the weather and how long they were holding the ball that first drive and sitting over there in the cold for an extra 30 minutes, things like that play a factor more than you can practice for. So I feel like they played a really well-played game, and we didn’t. We messed up a few times on offense, miscued many times pre-snap and put us in a place where it was hard to come back.”
If Wilson ultimately decides to go pro after this season, he’s been projected to be a first-round pick and quite possibly the first wide receiver selected in the 2022 NFL draft, which he said is “a blessing.” But he’s also grateful for the opportunity he’s had at Ohio State, so he hasn’t closed the book yet on the possibility of returning for his senior season like Chris Olave did a year ago.
“When you put in as much work as I have since a young kid and seeing people fall off in the game and people make it, it’s awesome to be able to say I’m one of the top receivers in this class,” Wilson said. “It definitely changes your mindset on things. I mean, coming into college, all you can dream about and talk about is wanting to go to the NFL. So that was the ultimate goal since day one. To have that opportunity after the season and if not, come back for another season and maybe have the opportunity again next year, it’s really a blessing. I don’t take anything for granted.”
Wilson knows there are still areas in which he has room to improve as he looks toward his future in the NFL.
“When that time comes, I think just being able to move from inside to outside is something that’s really valuable when you talk about the next level. So when that time comes, to be able to be versatile enough to run routes on the inside and outside and make yourself harder to game plan for,” Wilson said. “And just my attention to detail as well. Running routes at the exact depth they are. Getting on shoulders early in routes, which just means picking the side of the corner during releases and stuff like that. So there’s a lot of things I need to work on, but I’m trying to get there every day.”