COLUMBUS — Garrett Wilson has all the tools an Ohio State wide receiver could ever need, and he’s certainly putting them to good use.
Now the five-star freshman just needs to keep applying them as a punt returner. Then there might be no stopping one of the most intriguing weapons for the Buckeyes heading into his first postseason with the program.
Wilson has already proven that he’s ready to be a game-changing threat when the stakes are high, racking up over 100 receiving yards and grabbing an unforgettable touchdown in the win over Michigan on Saturday. And while those will be the long-term memories as part of his coming-out party in the rivalry, in the short run the Buckeyes will again be putting the focus on a punt that slipped out of his hands and his second special-teams turnover.
“He’s had two of them in the last three games, so we’ll just do a better job in practice,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “He’s got tremendous hands and great ball skills and depth perception, so we’ll just keep working with him. We have to make sure that he understands [the importance], and it’s not like he’s trying to put the ball on the ground. We’ll just keep working with him on his hands and eyes to make sure that’s locked in and looking that thing all the way in. The wind was a little gusty up there, and that happens, but the more and more he’s back there in those situations, I think every punt he’s back there for is an investment.
“I think it’s a very good investment with him because he’s got such a high ceiling back there.”
The enormous potential has never been in question since the moment Wilson arrived for Texas as an early enrollee in January. But even with all that hype and the possibility that he could help Ohio State right away, it’s still remarkable to see a true freshman making his fifth touchdown reception of the season by the end of November — many of them coming in jaw-dropping fashion.
Now Wilson will have a chance to leave a mark for the Buckeyes in December. And at the rate he’s going, he could become a star in January as well.
How has Garrett Wilson become so special, so quickly for Ohio State? What can the freshman do to clean up the issues fielding punts to make sure his impact in that phase matches his talent at wide receiver? Where else can he contribute during the postseason run for the Buckeyes? Former Ohio State wide receiver and national champion Evan Spencer was back in the Lettermen Row film lab looking at the performance in the win over Michigan to answer those questions before the Big Ten title game.
Roll the tape!
Lettermen Row senior writer Austin Ward contributed the editorial content for this post.