Water Cooler: Which Buckeye On Offense Will Breakout In 2020?

Garrett Wilson Ohio State Football Buckeyes Wide Receiver

Yesterday, Tom and I were taking part in a teleconference about water coolers when I mentioned to him that a better version of a water cooler would have Diet Dr. Pepper in it. Unfortunately, what I said went over the entire call, enraging the various water cooler salesmen who were trying to up-sell us on their latest and greatest wares.

“Diet Dr. Pepper?” one of them raged, “Are you kidding me?”

“Sorry, that was Tom,” I said. “My apologies. Now please tell us more about your upside down water buckets.”

With the phones on mute, Tom and I then began to finish our previous conversation about breakout players for the Buckeyes this year.

This time, we focused on the offense.

Tony Gerdeman

Since I have a pretty good idea of who Tom is going to choose, I thought I would go first.

When we consider breakout players, we could look at running back, where JK Dobbins must be replaced. Except I’m not sure that Trey Sermon would be considered a breakout player when he has 2,000 yards rushing in his career. Sure, he’s new to Buckeye fans, but that doesn’t really count.

There is also Master Teague, but he rushed for 789 yards last year, so he’s not really much of an unknown either. In fact, it might be difficult for any running back to break out if they’re all splitting carries.

Sophomore offensive lineman Harry Miller is a sneaky candidate because he should be fantastic this season. Redshirt sophomore Nicholas Petit-Frere could also be mentioned at right tackle.

Instead, however, we’re going to the receivers.

I firmly believe that freshman Jaxon Smith-Njigba is going to have a fantastic career at Ohio State and could have a freshman season like Garrett Wilson did last year with 30 catches for 432 yards and five touchdowns.

But just wait until you see what Wilson does this season as a sophomore.

The staff moved him into the slot, which is where Parris Campbell and KJ Hill teamed up for 158 catches in 2018. Last year, Hill posted 57 catches for 636 yards and 10 touchdowns and became Ohio State’s all-time receptions leader.

Wilson is going to become a focal point of this offense, just as the H-backs have been since Urban Meyer’s arrival.

Ohio State’s starting slot receiver since 2012 has averaged 56 receptions per year, and that includes 2014 and 2015 when the positions were shared by several players.

Garrett Wilson should have a monster year for the Buckeyes, and that is why he is my pick here.

In 2018, Parris Campbell became OSU’s first 1,000-yard receiver since Michael Jenkins in 2002. Wilson could very well become the second, assuming Chris Olave doesn’t beat him to the punch, of course.

Tom Orr

Much like the Ohio State defense, there are a multitude of different options to choose from when picking a breakout star for the 2020 Ohio State offense.

It’s hard to imagine Justin Fields being all that much better than his 2019 season (67 percent completions, 3,273 yards, 41/3 TD/INT ratio). But if he somehow makes a Joe Burrow-sized leap from his first to second year in a new system, you can start engraving the national championship trophy now.

Master Teague was one of the Big Ten’s leading rushers for much of 2019 despite being a backup. In a starting role, he could take that next step. But his leg injury is a concern.

Ditto for new grad transfer Trey Sermon, who could be the next great OSU running back, but who has some uncertainty following a knee injury last fall.

I’m guessing Gerd will take Garrett Wilson, who already looked like a star in the making as a freshman, and who should take a massive leap forward in 2020 – especially if he ends up as an H receiver.

You could take virtually anyone in that receiver room from freshman Jaxon Smith-Njigba to junior Chris Olave and have a decent chance of hitting a legitimate breakout player. Jameson Williams? Sure. Julian Fleming? Why not?

But sophomore OL Harry Miller is my pick. Miller has been viewed as close to a sure thing on the offensive line since high school, and nothing we saw from him in 2019 has changed anyone’s mind on that front.

He was immediately on the two-deep after arriving last summer, and is the type of player who both coaches and teammates rave about.

Miller is the front-runner to win the open starting position at left guard, and will then slide over to center and end up being a Rimington Award-caliber player there whenever Josh Myers departs for the NFL.

Look for Miller to be a rare first-year starter who also wins all-conference honors this fall, and who ends up getting a tree in Buckeye Grove before his time in Columbus is over.

5 Responses

  1. The fact is we have so many potential breakouts, it is tough to pick which one might do the best. I’m hoping it will be an offensive lineman or a defensive lineman because that is where the games are won and lost.. I just hope we can avoid a rash of injuries and that we don’t get long dicked by another crooked replay official in a key spot. National championships are awfully hard to come by and that guy robbed us of a chance in the Championship game last year.

  2. For a breakout star it implies little starting experience, but I’m going to go with Chris Olave not so much for the filling of need (though he will) but because he’ll be the undisputed leader of Zone 6 AND I’m looking for his numbers to take that quantum leap from VERY good (last year) to star this year. With plenty of others to worry about Olave will get open when it matters most and that will make all the difference this year.

  3. Believe that Sermon will be a key to this O much like JKD was, he seems to be as close to the missing puzzle piece that JKD was, so the O should continue to hum. Not sure Teague has the wits and shifts like JDB had, and it seems to be right now RB by committee. Also, theres a bunch of WR to keep up the hit parade like Olave, Wilson and others, so there will be a wide angle lens on all of them. So I will lean toward the OL like Miller or Petite Fere, they have the stars and the stats, they now have depth and it’s their time to shine, and would lean towards Perry’s words, it all begins on the O front.

  4. everybody’s pic is O-H so right,

    so somebody could pick anybody who could be so picked too

    so i will pick my nose knows…

    so I-O you…


  5. Garrett Wilson is the obvious choice. However, it would be even more important if Petite-Fere is the breakout star.

    Jameson is another candidate but I kind of question his hands. Is he more than just a deep speed guy?

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