Buckeye Receivers Returned with Title Hopes in Mind

Terry McLaurin Ohio State Army


Ohio State fans will see the names McLaurin, Dixon, and Campbell out on the field in the Scarlet and Gray once again next season.

Each of the three Buckeye wideouts had to decide whether to stay in school or head to the NFL with eligibility remaining, and they all ultimately decided to come back and play one more year in the Scarlet and Gray. Their respective decisions to come back were about improving both individually and as a unit, but there was one more thing they felt like they were missing — a national championship.

Terry McLaurin, Johnnie Dixon, and Parris Campbell all returned, which is good news for the Buckeyes. Their decisions were all made independently, and although they talked some throughout the process, no one really knew where each other stood.


Because, quite frankly, they didn’t know themselves where they stood. The process eventually led each of them to return to Ohio State. Their decisions were made individually, but it gives you an idea of how in tune they are with their one common goal.

It was kind of an individual thing, but I mean we all talked about it together,” Dixon said. “Biggest thing, we want to win a national title and we want to be a big part of that.”

Dixon finally spent a season healthy for the Buckeyes and totaled eight touchdowns, 18 receptions for 422 yards, and an average of 23.4 yards per reception. There was concern about Dixon making it through an entire season healthy, but he did it, and at times he did it very, very well.

In fact, many people thought he would leave now that he was finally healthy.

“There’s still a lot of things we left on the field last year, so there’s some goals we still want to reach this year,” Dixon said. “Sometimes it’s bigger than the money. Passing up a brotherhood like this would be crazy.”

Campbell led the Buckeyes with 584 yards receiving, while McLaurin was a consistent and steady leader who totaled 29 receptions for 436 yards in 2017. Much went into the decision to stay or go, and they each had their reasons, but they both felt that they haven’t yet accomplished everything they wanted to yet.

“I just felt like I had some personal goals I hadn’t met yet,” Campbell said. “Definitely like I said, I have a lot of potential that I haven’t even touched yet and I feel like Ohio State is the best place for me to develop and continue pushing for that. And I feel like once this season is over all of those personal goals will be met.”

Campbell and McLaurin are the only team captains returning for the Buckeyes, but they are excited for what  2018 will bring, especially with Zone 6 returning intact.

“It’s crazy,” Campbell said. “I didn’t think that we would all be back, but it’s definitely exciting. Like they said, the ultimate goal is to win a national title and I wouldn’t choose anybody else to go win this national title with, so I’m excited.”

While they were all a part of the 2014 national championship team, each of them redshirted that season. Now, as the leaders of this team, they want to do it themselves, in their final season. They don’t want to walk away without the most important trophy in the game.

It has been heard countless times from the Buckeye receivers — each time they go out there, they have to take advantage of every opportunity they are presented with. With a new quarterback at the helm in 2018, things will be different, but the mantra and the mentality will remain the same.

The main goal for Dixon, McLaurin and Campbell is to step it up for the new quarterback, whoever that may be, and in doing so, lead this Ohio State team to a national championship that they can finally call their own.


3 Responses

  1. It would have been the height of hubris for any of those receivers to declare early for the draft. You would need to take the best attribute of each one and splice them together in order to have formed a pro-ready receiver at this stage. Staying is precisely what they should do, and I am glad they are!

  2. I think they saw the handwriting on the wall…they just weren’t ready and were going to go lower than they thought. They now have the opportunity to make statements. I have always questioned the quality of the coaching these guys are getting from Zach Smith and I continue to do so.

    Parris and McCall are flat out gamebreakers and should be on the field somewhere most of the time. They must be put into positions where they can flash their talents in space with some room to operate. This staff (and NOT just Smith!) needs to incorporate more conventional screens, misdirection and counters and shorter, quicker throws over the middle along with better utilization of tight ends in order to get a passing game cranking.

    A strong running game will really enhance that, and that running game is subject to an efficient OL. Newsflash…so is the passing game. The OL is the key to this coming season. I hope it’s up to it.

    1. Doug- you make valid points about the pass play calling choices. I was consistently astounded at how frequently our offensive brain trust almost completely ignored the largest portion of the field- between 1 and 25 yards downfield. WAY too many parallel to line of scrimmage passes and 30 yard desperation heaves, far too few 7-10 yard slants and crosses, or passes where the TE was the first option. The OL simply cannot be the fall guy in 2018 for such playcalling- I don’t think for a second its easier to maintain blocks for a 30 yard heave, than it is to block for a 7 yard slant. The thing that worries me is that gimmickry was the first choice when we did have the components on the OL (not to mention the RBs and receivers). If Meyer perceives those components are lacking, we could be in for more oddly called games. Again, it’ll probably work against the lesser lights, but not so much against the better teams.

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