With a 10-yard reception in the third quarter of Ohio State’s 34-21 win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game, fifth-year senior receiver KJ Hill set the all-time receptions mark at OSU with 192 career catches.
He then added three more catches onto that total, including a pair of critical touchdowns for the Buckeyes.
Hill now sits at 195 career catches, which is four more than previous leader David Boston and 27 more than NFL Hall of Famer Cris Carter, who held the record for over a decade before Boston broke it.
The rest of the top 10 in OSU’s career receptions list is a who’s who of Buckeye greats featuring names like Michael Jenkins, Santonio Holmes, and Ted Ginn, Jr.
Sitting at his locker after the game on Saturday and reflecting on what the record means to him, those names were not lost on KJ Hill.
“My name being in that category just feels great,” he said. “I never would have thought it, but I just thank God. I’ve been blessed.”
Based on what he had done in the previous two seasons totaling 126 receptions, Hill was expected to break the record this year, but he didn’t talk about it much throughout the season. And in the moment of breaking it, he had bigger things to concern himself with.
“It feels great,” he said. “You all always remind me of how many how many catches I need, so I knew during the game I had broken it, but I couldn’t really think about it because we were behind, so I was trying to do anything I could to help this team win. That’s the best way I could go out — with the Big Ten Championship, in the Championship Game breaking the record.”
Hill finished with seven receptions for 83 yards and two touchdowns against the Badgers.
He is now just two games away from setting the school record for consecutive games with at least one catch. He is sitting at 47 games in a row with a reception, but it will take a College Football Playoff Championship Game appearance for Hill to hold the record all by himself.
Of course, all of these numbers also means that KJ Hill has been around for a long time.
A Little Rock, Arkansas native, Hill was once committed to play at Arkansas. He eventually chose to become a Buckeye, and as a fifth-year senior, the distance between now and then doesn’t seem all that long.
“Time flies,” he said after the game. “It feels like I just got here the other day, making the decision to come here to Ohio State.”
And while Hill now stands alone in the record book, he knows who helped him all along the way, which has also given him the perfect example to following in paying forward.
“I had great leaders here to show me the way. Michael Thomas, Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon, and Terry McLaurin, so I just followed their lead,” Hill said.
“They worked hard, they didn’t say much. They just did what they had to do, and that got me in this position. I give them a lot of credit because they showed me the way. So I’m just trying to show guys like Garrett Wilson, Jameson Williams, and Chris Olave the way so that one day one of them can break the record.”