[This is the 11th installment in our annual series where The-Ozone looks back on each member of the previous season’s freshman class and the impact they had as rookies, as well as the impact they could have during the upcoming season. Up next is wide receiver Garrett Wilson.]
Garrett Wilson was the first composite 5-star receiver signed by Ohio State since Jalin Marshall in 2013 and the first composite 5-star out-of-state receiver for the Buckeyes since possibly Maurice Harris in 1999 or definitely Ken-Yon Rambo in 1997.
Wilson played for Lake Travis High School in Austin, Texas and the first time he caught an Ohio State coach’s eye was when Ryan Day was there to scout quarterback Matthew Baldwin and Day noticed a wide receiver blocking a defender off the field and into a tree.
One month after offering Baldwin, the Buckeyes offered Wilson. He committed in the spring before his senior season.
As a senior, Wilson missed some time due to injury but still posted over 1,100 yards receiving and 19 touchdowns. He ended up ranked the No. 2 wide receiver in the nation and the No. 20 prospect overall.
Garrett Wilson enrolled early for the Buckeyes and immediately began making plays in practice. He showed the same ball skills that made him a household name in Texas High School football.
“Tremendous ball skills downfield,” Day said last spring. “He’s still learning. First day, he’s kind of getting knocked off the ball a little bit at the line of scrimmage and trying to figure that out. The first going against real big-time college corners and then he’s working his way through it. So he’s flashed. Again, still has a long way to go. He’s put 15 pounds on since he’s been here, since he reported in January, so he’s done a good job there.”
In the fall, Wilson was quickly paired with Binjimen Victor at the X receiver spot, opposite Chris Olave and Austin Mack at the Z. He was in the rotation of five receivers — along with KJ Hill at the H — from the outset.
Wilson finished fourth on the team with 30 receptions, which was the most for a Buckeye true freshman since David Boston had 33 catches in 1996. Wilson’s 432 yards receiving and five touchdowns were also fourth-most on the team.
The best game for Wilson came at Michigan where he caught three passes for 118 yards and a touchdown.
He caught a pass in every game last season except for the opener against Florida Atlantic.
So Now What For Garrett Wilson
Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson are the two most-experienced receivers returning for the Buckeyes and both are in line for big seasons in 2020. They may also be the two most physically gifted receivers Ohio State has had in years.
Wilson’s 30 receptions in 2019 were just a teaser and he should approach 50 or 60 this season depending on how much help he gets in the rotation. Expect him to also be a top red zone option for quarterback Justin Fields.
The only thing that will limit Wilson this year is opportunity. As in, there’s only so many footballs to go around.
And it will be a surprise if anybody makes more circus catches than Wilson this season.