The No. 5 player on this list finished third in receptions, yards receiving, and touchdowns for the Buckeyes last year. If Ohio State’s passing attack is as dangerous as many expect, he could finish near the top of at least a couple of these categories this year.
No. 5 — Terry McLaurin, rSr. Wide Receiver
It wasn’t until midway through Terry McLaurin’s redshirt sophomore season that he finally had more receptions than tackles.
As a redshirt freshman in 2015, McLaurin’s presence was felt mostly on special teams, where he finished with seven tackles.
It wasn’t until 2016 as a redshirt sophomore that McLaurin recorded his first reception, and none of them were exactly big plays. His longest reception was 19 yards.
Last season, however, McLaurin finally began to make a mark.
As one of six in the rotation, McLaurin shared the Z receiver spot with Johnnie Dixon. McLaurin caught 29 passes for 436 yards and six touchdowns.
Eight of McLaurin’s 29 receptions went for at least 20 yards and three went for over 30 yards, including the 84-yarder to start the scoring in last year’s Big Ten Championship Game.
What He Does Well
McLaurin is explosive and strong enough to break a tackle. He is familiar and comfortable running every route on the route tree.
Deep shots were attempted last season, but rarely successful. Constant work has been put in to remedy that moving forward.
Speed and agility are strengths, and the continued focus on the passing game in OSU’s offense will put these traits on display even more this season.
Together, McLaurin and Parris Campbell are two of the best leaders on the team, and McLaurin’s leadership has never been just vocal. He is one of the hardest workers on the team and is a prime example for his teammates on how to practice.
Terry McLaurin in 2018
Terry McLaurin wasn’t able to show as much of his deep abilities last year, but that is expected to change this season.
A lot is being made of the impact that Dwayne Haskins’ arm will have on the Ohio State passing attack. With his ability to reach any part of the field, that should open up the deep passing game for every single receiver on the roster.
Last season, McLaurin was one of the more frequent deep route runners, but the results weren’t what was hoped for.
There is reason to believe that those results increase this year, not just because of the quarterback, but also because of McLaurin having another year of work and practice under his belt.
McLaurin won’t just be a deep threat, however, because he can also take a short pass a long distance.
What They Are Saying
“It means a lot. That’s one thing nobody can ever take away from me. This football game’s going to end at some point in my career. And so to have that, a graduate of Ohio State, and to do it in three and half years, is something I’m really proud of. My mom and my parents are really excited for me to get that degree and something I’m really proud of. It’s not always easy to do, especially when you’re a student athlete. But that’s going to take me further in life than football can, so I’m really excited.” — Terry McLaurin on his graduation last winter
“I can’t lie, I’ve watched it a lot. You dream about it and you run through your head all the time making a big play on a stage like that and then for me to do that for our team and for it to be a big momentum shift in the game, I was really proud of that. And the icing on the cake was I had so many friends and family in my hometown, so it was really cool.” — Terry McLaurin on his 84-yard touchdown reception in the Big Ten Championship Game last year
“Actually when me and Terry came in, it was probably like the second week of summer workouts, we were two guys that went hard in the weight room. He just came up to us and he was like, ‘You two guys are going to change that culture in the receiver room.’ At the time, we’re young guys, we’re still trying to figure it out. We didn’t really know what that means at the time. But now, we definitely see it and it’s definitely real.” — Parris Campbell on being tagged early on with Terry McLaurin as future leaders