COLUMBUS — It was a surprise to many when senior wide receiver Chris Olave announced he would be returning to Ohio State for his senior season.
He was surely talented enough to go be successful in the NFL. But Olave had bigger goals for himself, and more dreams to achieve as a Buckeye.
On Saturday, Senior Day at Ohio Stadium, it was Olave’s last time playing in Columbus as a Buckeye. It’s safe to say that he made the most of it and he made his mark on the Ohio State football program.
Olave finished the game against Michigan State on Saturday with seven catches on seven targets, for a career-high 140 yards, and two touchdowns, all essentially in the first half of the game.
Olave entered this season with 22 career touchdowns. His freshman season in 2018, he recorded three touchdowns. The next season, he had 12. Last year, with only seven games due to COVID-19, Olave recorded seven touchdowns.
With his second touchdown of the day on Saturday in the first quarter, Olave broke David Boston’s 23-year-old record for career touchdown receptions with the 35th of his career.
It was a double play action faking both the jet sweep and a handoff, and redshirt freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud found Olave open over the top.
“It’s a huge blessing and I thank God for that,” Olave said after the game. “When I came in, I came in as a 3-star, the lowest recruit in my class. I didn’t know it would come to this day but I just kept my head down and kept working and try to maximize my potential here and I feel like I’ve done that. I’ve got a lot of blessings.”
The whole day for Olave was emotional. He didn’t know he would break the record, let alone do it on Senior Day, at home, in front of his family.
“I never though this day would come I feel like it went by so quick,” Olave said on his time at Ohio State. “The day started off real emotional when I woke up. My family was here so I got to see them last night. I didn’t know I was going to break it today but it came early, in the first quarter.”
When he showed up at postgame interviews, Olave had the touchdown ball in his bag. He knew it was something that he wanted to keep to remember the significance of the touchdown. But after the play, he forgot to keep it and somebody had to go get it and give it to him after the game.
So although his time at Ohio State is coming to an end, there’s no question that Olave left his mark on the Ohio State football program. Now, he has the ball to prove it.
For the young players who will fill Olave’s shoes when he leaves or for those who play alongside him, they are thankful to be there to witness his greatness, and hopefully, follow in his footsteps.
“It’s a honor,” sophomore receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba said. “I appreciate him, I tell him I appreciate him as much as I can because he keeps setting the standard. Us you guys, we have a path that we can follow and that’s all you can ask for. I wouldn’t be here in this position and knowing all of the things I know with out Chris.”