Better Know a Buckeye: Chris Olave Turned Down Chip Kelly to Move from Southern California to Columbus for College

By Vico on July 23, 2018 at 2:45 pm
Chris Olave

We continue the Better Know a Buckeye series with its 24th installment in 2018. Here, we profile Chris Olave, a wide receiver from San Marcos, California.

Chris Olave

  • Size: 6-1/170
  • Position: WR
  • Hometown: San Marcos, CA
  • School: Mission Hills
  • 247 Composite: ★★★★
  • National Ranking: 399
  • Position Ranking: 68 (WR)
  • State Ranking: 47 (CA)

Chris Olave first appeared on Ohio State's radar in the fall and only received an offer in October. He is, for all intents and purposes, a late-developing prospect. However, that late development coincided with offers from Ohio State, Michigan, and USC in a one-month window last October-November. He whittled his list to Ohio State and UCLA before choosing the Buckeyes over Chip Kelly's UCLA program.

I retell this recruitment below. I offer a scouting report for a wide receiver prospect that is more of a two-year or three-year project. I suggest we should not expect to see Chris Olave on the field as a true freshman. I close with some senior-year highlight film for the reader to watch at the end of the feature.


Ohio State discovered Chris Olave late into the recruiting cycle. The Buckeyes don't scan the West Coast for talent as hard as it recruits areas closer to Ohio, or the South, more broadly. It would explain why he didn't appear on Ohio State's radar as a freshman or sophomore.

More Chris Olave at 11W

His transfer would explain why he didn't get on Ohio State's radar during his junior season. Olave transferred from Eastlake High School outside Chula Vista to Mission Hills in San Marcos and sat out his junior year.

Thus, Olave held some FBS offers before his senior year. Washington State offered in April of last year. However, Olave was a late-developing prospect, for all intents and purposes. Most of the action happened in a one-month window from October to November in which Olave received offers from Ohio State (Oct. 7), Michigan (Oct. 30), and USC (Nov. 2).

The courtship that followed was brief. Olave whittled his list to Ohio State, UCLA, USC, and Utah as the early signing day approached. He visited Ohio State on Nov. 11 for the Michigan State game and returned with high marks for the experience. UCLA, which had hired Chip Kelly, expressed its interest in what Olave could bring to the wide receiver rotation in Westwood. Olave visited on Jan. 12 and, for a while, seemed to indicate that he could not pass up an opportunity to be part of a rebuilding project in Westwood for Chip Kelly.

However, a series of coaches visits, first from Ryan Day and then from both Day and Zach Smith, encouraged Olave to commit to the Buckeyes.


Chris Olave committed to Ohio State on Jan. 22 as the 24th member of what would become Ohio State's full 2018 recruiting class. He chose Ohio State over UCLA, but held offers from other programs like Michigan, Tennessee, and USC.

It's a wonder Olave chose to come to Ohio State. The Buckeyes have a lot of depth at wide receiver and added to it in the home stretch of the 2018 recruiting class. UCLA, by contrast, could probably offer more immediate playing time for a coach whose college offenses were legendary at Oregon. However, Olave responded positively to the challenge at Ohio State. He's a competitor and his coach suggested he'd thrive in a pressure-cooker like Ohio State.

Olave signed his letter of intent on Feb. 7 and enrolled in June.


Olave is a tough prospect to evaluate in a lot of ways. He sat out his junior year. His sophomore year film treated him more as a potential cornerback. Available senior-year film (which you can see at the end of this feature) is partial. Additional highlights also zoom into the line of scrimmage. Thus, you can identify Olave at the snap but, regrettably for evaluating his position, you can't see how he gets open.

Toward that end, his film really accentuates that he has a knack of getting open. I can't evaluate how good of a route-runner he is and his film seems to make apparent he's not a "burner", which leaves one to infer that his ability to get open, from what we can see, is largely his awareness of the defense and his acceleration and short-yardage burst. Watch the available film and you can see how much cushion he gets and still how defensive backs misjudge him. It's mostly his burst off the snap.


Olave is not a speedy receiver and not a home run threat, per se. That's fine; he doesn't have to be those things to play. He just needs to get open. However, he lacks the size of other underneath receivers, which means his awareness and his route-running are premiums.

He'll probably want to invest a lot in strength training his first year on campus. Opposing defenses gave him far more cushion in coverage than he'll ever see in college. He'll want to learn to run through tighter coverage at the college level.

I would like to see more catches away from his body. Even controlling for the selection effect in highlight films (i.e. more impressive catches are more likely to appear in these films), most unedited film of him shows a lot of body-catching. A smaller wide receiver prospect for whom speed is not a superlative needs to show more ability to make catches away from his body.


Even controlling for the new redshirt rules, this is a clear redshirt in 2018. Ohio State returns effectively everyone from last year's receiver rotation. Ohio State signed Olave more for his potential in 2019 and 2020 than any immediate concerns on the roster. Don't expect to see Olave on the field this fall.


Here is a partial senior-year film of Chris Olave.


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