Ohio State announced on Monday afternoon that junior wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba will not play against Georgia the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Peach Bowl as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury and prepares to enter the 2023 NFL Draft.
“I want to thank Jaxon for all he has done for our Ohio State program," head coach Ryan Day said in a statement. "He has had such a major impact here in Columbus, on and off the field, in a relatively short period of time. We all know he has a very bright future ahead of him and we all support him as he moves forward with his career.”
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A former five-star prospect from Rockwall, Texas, Smith-Njigba suffered the injury in the season-opening win against Notre Dame. He attempted to return twice but was ultimately limited to just five catches for 43 yards in three games this fall.
That was a far cry from the school-record 95 catches for 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns Smith-Njigba had last season, including an all-time bowl record with 347 yards and three scores in the 48-45 win over Utah in the Rose Bowl.
“I did everything possible to put myself in a position to get back on the field this year. I wanted it as much, if not more than anyone else,” Smith-Njigba said. “After consulting with my doctors, it has been determined that I will not be able to participate in the playoffs.
“Having prayed on it with my family, I have decided to focus on getting 100 percent healthy and commit to my training for the next chapter of my football journey. I am officially declaring for the 2023 NFL draft.”
Smith-Njigba, who is still widely projected to be one of the first wide receivers taken in April's draft despite missing almost all of his junior year, now finishes his career with the Buckeyes with 110 receptions for 1,698 yards and 10 touchdowns.
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