It’s the doldrums of almost summer and you are most likely stuck between queueing up last year’s Rose Bowl victory over Utah on the DVR for the umpteenth time, reading rankings and listicles that include Ohio State, and yearning for the start of the college football season.
Sounds like a perfect time to kick off a series we are embarking upon here at Buckeyes Wire. We call it the “face of the position” and it’s really exactly as it sounds. When you think of a position group at Ohio State, who do you think of? From quarterback to linebacker, to placekicker and beyond, OSU has some of the most iconic and historical college football players that have taken their place among the best in the game.
However, one player stands out above all else when you shroud them behind the colors of scarlet and gray, and that’s where we are going to ask for your assistance.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting players that are in the running for the face of a position at Ohio State and asking for your vote in a Twitter poll to have one player identified as the one you think immediately at that position.
We’ve already looked at the quarterback position and running backs. Now we’re moving on to the wide receiver position where Ohio State has begun to recruit better than anyone. It’s a position that might eventually be considered Cadillac group in the history of Ohio State over the next few years because it’s already well on its way with a lot of momentum.
We’ll keep voting up for five days, and at the end of it, we’ll reveal the winner of each. Make sure you scroll to the bottom to cast your vote from the nominees and write in a candidate if you think of another player.
David Boston (1996 to 1998)
*** NOTE: Photo also ran on 4/18/99 (4E); and 12/20/98 (1E) — OSU Football — vs. Michigan — Wolverines — 31-16 — 11/21/98 — David Boston gets into the endzone with Michigan #30 Andre Weathers hanging on. Doral photo.
So, who’s the greatest receiver in Ohio State’s storied history?
David Boston can lay a claim, at least for now. He ranks second in career receptions, second in career touchdowns and second in receiving yardage. He also posted the second-best single-season by a Buckeye receiver because of Jaxon-Smith-Njigba’s record-setting season last year, catching 85 passes for 1,435 yards in 1998. That total includes a 217-yard effort against Michigan, sparking OSU to a 31-16 victory.
Boston also had a successful NFL career, playing eight years in the league. His best season was 2001 when he had 98 catches for 1,598 yards, which was good enough to earn a spot in the Pro Bowl.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba (2020 to current)
Sat., Jan. 1, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba (11) looks back to Utah players after a reception during the fourth quarter of the 108th Rose Bowl Game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Utah Utes at the Rose Bowl. Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Yes, Jaxon Smith-Njigba belongs in the conversation despite still playing for the Buckeyes and only having two years of stats accumulated. When writing this, I began to think that Smith-Njigba might eventually end up on this list after his career is done, but when I started looking at the list of accomplishments you start to realize the special things he’s already done.
Smith-Njigba is already first in Ohio State history in yards (1,606) and catches in a single season (95), receiving yards per game (347), most pass receptions in a game (15 twice), most receiving yards in a game, receptions per game in a career (5.3), receptions per game in a season (7.3), and most consecutive games with at least 100 yards receiving (5).
Yeah, that’s ridiculous. Some of the per averages could change, but Smith-Njigba is going to continue his assault on the receiving records at Ohio State and climb some of the other categories as well.
There’s no doubt, he’s in the conversation, and if you throw away the fact that some believe recency bias might play into it, he could very well be the best receiver to ever play for Ohio State … right now.
Cris Carter (1984 to 1986)
Oct, 1985; Unknown location, USA; FILE PHOTO; Ohio State Buckeyes receiver Cris Carter (2) during the 1986 season. Mandatory Credit: Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Admit it — as soon as you saw the name, you thought of Chris Berman quipping, “all he does is catch touchdowns.”
All kidding aside, Carter was one of the best – if not the best – receivers to wear the Scarlet and Gray. He ranks fourth in school history in receiving yardage, fourth in touchdowns, and second in receptions. He also posted the fourth-best individual season by a Buckeye receiver in 1986, hauling in 69 passes for 1,127 yards. Not surprisingly, he was a consensus All-American that year.
His stats could have been even bigger had he not left college early because of an issue with working with an agent while still an amateur. Actually, it appears that the agent knew what he was doing.
As great as he was in college, Carter was even better in the NFL. In sixteen NFL seasons, he caught 1,101 passes for 13,899 yards and 130 touchdowns. He led the league in receiving touchdowns three times (1995, 1997, 1999) and was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.
Terry Glenn (1993 to 1995)
Nov 18, 1996; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes reciever Terry Glenn (83) runs after a catch against the Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes best the Hoosiers 42-3. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
As athletic and dynamic as Terry Glenn was, he really had just one year where he starred for Ohio State. But oh, what a year it was. Glenn made big play after big play, often of the acrobatic variety in 1995 and nearly helped lead the Buckeyes to a Big Ten title and shot at a national title, save a loss to Michigan at the end of the year.
Glenn wracked up 1,411 yards and 17 touchdowns on 64 receptions in his senior season, averaging a whopping 22.0 yards per catch. It was good enough to win the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best wide receiver, the only OSU player to do so to date.
Twitter Poll: Vote and help us decide!