Garrett Wilson came to Ohio State with significant expectations for himself and from others.
A 5-star prospect, Wilson was the No. 2 receiver in the 2019 class and arguably the biggest receiver recruit for the Buckeyes ever.
And he did not disappoint as a freshman, posting 30 receptions, 432 yards receiving, and five touchdowns.
It was the best performance from an Ohio State freshman receiver since David Boston notched 33 receptions for 450 yards and seven touchdowns in 1996.
With Wilson’s 118 yards receiving against Michigan, he also became the first Ohio State true freshman to tally a 100-yard receiving game since David Boston and Michael Wiley did it in 1996.
It was an impressive debut, but was it what Wilson expected?
“I wouldn’t say it’s what I expected. I didn’t really expect anything,” he said. “I knew what I was capable of and when I was out there, I just tried to make plays. If I was called on, I thought I would make plays. I have confidence in myself, but I didn’t know what to expect as far as playing time. So whenever I was out there, I just tried to do the best I could.”
From the time Wilson arrived a little more than a year ago, it didn’t take long to start hearing good things about him. But there were also caveats, such as head coach Ryan Day maintaining that Wilson needed to continue to develop positive practice habits and learn how to push through the tough times.
Helping Wilson do that was receivers coach Brian Hartline, who allowed him to better understand his role in this Buckeye offense.
“Being able to have somebody in the room that has done the things that I want to do, as far as going to the NFL and playing at Ohio State, when he says something, everybody in the room listens,” Wilson said. “Being here and playing here, he loves it. It’s deeper than just football for him, so it’s great having somebody like him in the room.”
Wilson also relied heavily upon his teammates. With seniors like KJ Hill, Austin Mack, and Binjimen Victor on the field with him, they provided the proper example. But being a true freshman, Wilson’s struggles were wide-ranging. It wasn’t anything his teammates hadn’t already experienced, however.
“Those dudes, they’ve already done the freshman year, sophomore year, junior year at my position, so I can talk to them about anything,” he said. “They’ve done the same things I’ve done, so being able to rely on them, get things off your chest, it was a good thing to have.”
Now with those three off to the NFL, Wilson must step up and be an even more significant part of this Ohio State offense.
After posting rare numbers for a true freshman, everyone who watched Wilson this past season is interested to see what he can do in 2020 with a year of experience under him and more opportunities to make plays.
That includes Garrett Wilson himself.
“I definitely feel like I have more to show,” he said. “I’m really confident in my ability. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing against. I feel like I can make the plays. If my number is called, I feel like I’m going to make that play.”