Jaxon Smith-Njigba entered the 2021 season as an unproven but highly-touted sophomore receiver expected to be a key cog alongside elite proven talents in Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson.
When the dust settled on the 2021 season however, Smith-Njigba outperformed his stellar receiving-mates, both of whom went on to be selected early in the first round of the NFL Draft.
So what did it take to outshine two elite first rounders? How about setting single-season school records for receptions (95) and receiving yards (1,606) while putting on an absolute clinic over the final five games. Against the likes of Nebraska, Purdue, Michigan State, Michigan and Utah, Smith-Njigba went scorched earth, amassing 60 catches for 958 yards (and six touchdowns).
Now entering his third, and almost-assuredly, final season in Columbus, Smith-Njigba owns a 1,000-yard season, seven 100-yard games, 105 catches and 1,655 yards.
With another season of elite production, Smith-Njigba has a shot at setting a host of career receiving marks at Ohio State, with the most-notable listed below.
FIRST OHIO STATE RECEIVER TO POST TWO 1,000-YARD SEASONS
Last year JSN became just the seventh Buckeye to record a 1,000-yard receiving season, setting the single-season mark with those ridiculous 1,606 yards.
None of the previous Buckeyes to reach the 1,000-yard mark did so twice in their careers. Only Michael Jenkins was back for another shot after reaching 1,000 yards the prior season and he posted 834 yards in his 2003 swan song, on the heels of his 1,076 yards in 2002. He damn near broke 1,000 in 2001, going for 988 yards.
It would be a huge upset if Smith-Njigba didn't become the first Buckeye to post back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
K.J. Hill holds the current school-record for career catches with 201, set across four seasons in Columbus. Hill played 50 games for the Buckeyes with his best season coming as a junior when he tallied 70 catches (for 885 yards).
JSN sits at 105 receptions, meaning he'll need a lofty 97 to surpass Hill's mark. Basically, he'd need to set another single-season receptions record to establish a new standard.
While anything is possible with Smith-Njigba and C.J. Stroud on the field, if you feel like 97 grabs might be asking too much, 87 catches would move JSN ahead of David Boston's 191 catches, good for second-place in school history.
CAREER RECEIVING YARDS
Jenkins is the current leader in the clubhouse with 2,898 career receiving yards accumulated during the 2001-03 seasons. Before the Atlanta Falcons made him the 29th pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, Jenkins was Mr. Consistency at Ohio State, posting years of 988, 1,076 and 834 yards, respectively.
Again assuming JSN is gone after completing his third season, it's wild he has a legit chance to become the school's all-time receiving yardage leader while only totaling 49 yards in his first season.
But after last season's 1,606-yard outburst, giving him 1,655 for his career, he needs a reachable 1,244 receiving yards this season to better Jenkins' mark.
To at least reach second-place Boston's 2,855 receiving yards, Smith-Njigba will need 1,201 this fall.
CAREER RECEPTIONS PER GAME
For this one, JSN just needs to hold serve. After averaging 7.3 catches per game last season, Smith-Njigba is already the school's all-time leader with 5.3 receptions per game (105 catches in 20 games).
Boston sits in the two-hole with 5.2 catches per game (191 catches, 37 games).
If Ohio State and Smith-Njigba were to play 15 games this season, he'd need to tally at least 80 total catches to maintain the school record.
CAREER 100-YARD RECEIVING GAMES
Boston is your current leader with 14 games of at least 100 receiving yards. Behind him, only Olave (11), Wilson (10) and Jenkins (10) posted double-digit 100-yards receiving days in their Buckeye careers.
Smith-Njigba has seven such outings across his for 20 games meaning he'll need at least eight this season to overtake Boston for the top spot.
CONSECUTIVE 100-YARD RECEIVING GAMES
Cris Carter set the record for most consecutive 100-yard receiving games with five during the 1986 season. He held that record until last year when Smith-Njigba went bonkers posting the noted five-straight to end the season.
Now, JSN enters the 2022 campaign needing 100 yards against Notre Dame to set a new standard in OSU lore.