Kojo Antwi Staying Focused on Development As He Awaits Opportunity to Play Bigger Role at Wide Receiver for Ohio State

By Dan Hope on May 21, 2023 at 8:35 am
Kojo Antwi

In a loaded unit that returns just about everyone from last season with the exception of Jaxon Smith-Njigba, there’s never been a clear path for Ohio State’s second-year receivers to get on the field in 2023.

As a result, two of Ohio State’s four receiver signees from the 2022 class have already left Columbus, with Kaleb Brown transferring to Iowa and Caleb Burton transferring to Auburn. Naturally, that could lead to more speculation about the futures of Ohio State’s two remaining receivers from the 2022 class, Kojo Antwi and Kyion Grayes.

At least one of them, though, has indicated he plans to be a Buckeye for the long haul.

While Grayes didn’t meet with the media this spring, as he was sidelined by injury on the day wide receivers had their media availability, Antwi expressed an understanding of the situation he’s in when he spoke with reporters in March.

With Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka, Julian Fleming and Xavier Johnson back to lead the wide receiver unit, Antwi recognizes he isn’t in line to be a starter this year. With plenty of other talented receivers in the room including Jayden Ballard, Carnell Tate, Brandon Inniss and Noah Rogers, among others, Antwi also realizes nothing will be handed to him after this season either. But Antwi didn’t choose Ohio State for instant gratification. He chose Ohio State because of the player he believes he can become with Brian Hartline’s coaching.

“I'm just trying to prepare this whole season, take it step by step and learn from the older guys,” Antwi said in March. “Obviously, they're gonna be starters here this year, but I mean, it's a process here and you come to Ohio State to be developed. So that's what I'm trying to do.”

Ranked as the No. 151 overall prospect in the 2022 class – the lowest ranking of Ohio State’s four wide receiver signees a year ago – Antwi didn’t arrive at Ohio State expecting to play a big role right away. He knew he needed time to develop first, and he continued to take that same approach this spring going into his second season with the Buckeyes.

“When I first got here, in my mind, I knew that I wasn't ready to get on the field yet. I knew that I was going to come in and just work and just try and learn from the older guys like I said, and learn from them, and then take over,” Antwi said. “There's always room for improvement. So I'm not gonna say that I'm ready right now. I'm learning from Marvin and X and Mek and Ju and those guys.”

Despite that, Antwi earned the most playing time – relatively speaking – among Ohio State’s four true freshmen receivers last year. He appeared in five games on special teams and played 27 snaps, all in late-game blowout situations, at wide receiver. While he might not be where he needs to be yet to take snaps away from the starters, Antwi showed enough as a freshman to give Hartline confidence that Antwi has a bright future with the Buckeyes as he continues to develop.

“He's been doing what I was hoping he was going to do, which is good,” Hartline said in December. “I think he's done a great job … if we're able to continue to mesh that and apply that and grow, a mature 18-year-old becomes a 19-year-old and a 20-year-old and we continue to progress that way, the sky's the limit.”

“It's a process here and you come to Ohio State to be developed. So that's what I'm trying to do.”– Kojo Antwi

By choosing to stick around at Ohio State, Antwi should have an opportunity to earn playing time in 2024, when Harrison, Egbuka, Fleming and Johnson could all be in the NFL. He’ll still have to battle for that next year, as Tate has seemingly already positioned himself as the next man up at X receiver – the same position Antwi plays – by excelling in his first spring as a true freshman.

Antwi’s embracing the competition, though, with the belief that it will make him a better receiver in the long run. While he could have followed the lead of Brown and Burton and likely found a clearer path to playing time elsewhere, he chose to stay the course at Ohio State.

While he’s not yet a known commodity like Harrison, Egbuka or Fleming and didn’t come in with the same recruiting hype as Inniss, Tate or Rogers, Antwi is confident he can be a difference-maker for the Buckeyes when his time comes.

“I'm explosive. I'm a playmaker. I got speed. And I just can't wait to showcase that,” Antwi said.

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