Ohio State had a successful season in 2020, making it to the National Championship and facing off against Alabama. Despite losing by a big margin, Ohio State was competitive for most of the game. The Crimson Tide proved to be too much that night.
The Buckeyes season success translated to the 2021 NFL Draft, where they saw 10 players get selected, including Justin Fields at pick 11 to the Chicago Bears. The Buckeyes will have an exciting draft class in 2022, as there were some unexpected returnees to the team for the 2021 season, including Chris Olave and Haskell Garrett.
Let's take a look at the top five returning Ohio State prospects.
Garrett Wilson, Wide Receiver
One second he is there, the next second he’s not. That is what it must feel like covering Ohio State’s most explosive playmaker. Wilson is a big play threat, who owns elite speed that can beat any cornerback. He catches everything thrown his way and shows the athleticism to make things happen after the catch. He has been a top 10 prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft for a while now and his stock only grows, as he continues to perform.
Chris Olave, Wide Receiver
The most consistent Ohio State pass-catcher is a tremendous route runner with a ton of upside. Olave possesses quick feet that benefits his release and helps enable him to get open. Along with exceptional route running, Olave can make the contested catch and has the ability to stop-and-start on a dime. He racked up 50 catches for 729 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in 2020.
Haskell Garrett, Defensive Tackle
Evaluators knew all they needed to know last season when Garrett was shot in the face and came back to play just two weeks later. He’s as tough as they come and on a mission to prove he’s a first round pick next year. In just eight games last season, he had 40 tackles and two sacks on the interior of the Buckeyes defensive front. Garrett shocked most in the media when he decided to return to school last year but he is expected to get looks as a high value prospect, especially after a weak defensive tackle group in 2021.
Jeremy Ruckert, Tight End
After being a top tight end in college football in the 2020 season, Ruckert is expected to be a top tight end once again in the 2022 NFL Draft. He had some big performances last season, most notably catching two touchdown passes against Clemson in the College Football Playoffs. He has a massive frame that can provide a huge catch radius for the quarterback to throw to. Ruckert could possibly sneak into the late first round with a dominant season at tight end.
Tyreke Smith, Defensive End
The Buckeyes defensive end returns with most of the starters from last season on the defensive line, so the chemistry could prove to be valuable after a strange season in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Smith has some finesse to his game and can be technical with his hands in pass-rushing situations. With most of the top linebacker talent gone from last season, the veteran defensive line will have to step up for the Buckeyes. Look for Smith to be the top pass-rusher on the team in 2020.