Ohio State junior wide receiver Garrett Wilson announced Monday that he will forgo his senior season of eligibility and declare for the 2022 NFL Draft. Wilson will also opt out of Saturday's Rose Bowl vs. Utah.
"I want to start this off by thanking all of you from the bottom of my heart," Wilson wrote. "These last three years have been unforgettable and becoming a Buckeye has been the single greatest decision of my life. I would like to thank my teammates, trainers and our entire coaching staff -- coach Hartline, coach Day, coach Mick and coach Nico, thank you. I wouldn't be in this situation without each and every one of you."
Additionally, Ryan Day confirmed to reporters on Monday that fellow wideout Chris Olave, defensive lineman Haskell Garrett and offensive lineman Nicholas Petit-Frere have opted out of the bowl to focus on the draft.
Wilson recorded 2,213 yards receiving and 23 touchdowns in three seasons with the Buckeyes. He had 1,058 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns as a junior in 2021 and was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team. A likely first-round pick, Wilson is ranked as the No. 8 prospect and the top wide receiver in the CBS Sports 2022 NFL Draft prospect rankings.
The 6-foot, 190-pounder from Lake Travis High School in Austin, Texas, was a five-star prospect and the No. 20 overall player in the Class of 2019.
What are the biggest takeaways from these decisions? Let's break down what it means for the Buckeyes and the Rose Bowl.
Ohio State can withstand the losses
Wilson's absence, while noteworthy, shouldn't make too big of an impact on the Rose Bowl. Make no mistake, Wilson is an incredibly talented player with a bright future, but the same can be said for multiple Ohio State wide receivers.
Olave, the other star of the receiving corps for the last four years, will also opt out. However, Jaxon Smith-Njigba leads the Buckeyes in receiving through 12 games and has shown as a sophomore that he is fully capable of handling the responsibility of being the centerpiece of the game plan. The Buckeyes also have the ability to weave in multiple running backs -- including star freshman TreVeyon Henderson -- into the lineup and use them as targets for quarterback C.J. Stroud.
More recruiting ammo for Day
Wilson's status in draft rankings, coupled with Olave's consistent success and the emergence of Smith-Njigba, is just another reminder that coach Ryan Day has sustained and further developed an offensive juggernaut in Columbus.
Four of Ohio State's signees in the early signing period are ranked among the top 150 overall players in the Class of 2022 and Day signed three more wide receivers ranked in the top 100 during the previous recruiting cycle. There's a good reason why Ohio State continues to churn out skill position superstars, and Wilson's upcoming draft stock will be even more evidence that Day's sales pitch is resonating on the recruiting trail.
A draft rarity for the Buckeyes
Despite all of the blue-chip recruits and big-time production, Ohio State still hasn't churned out many first-round receivers lately. Garrett and Olave could be in rare company if they're selected in on Day 1 next spring. The Buckeyes have enjoyed 16 first-round picks since 2016 -- but none of them have been wide receivers. In fact, Ohio State has not had a first-round pick at receiver since Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez were taken by the Dolphins and Colts, respectively, in 2007.
Similarly, Ohio State could have multiple first-round receivers if Olave is taken on Day 1. Olave is ranked as the No. 16 prospect for the draft, per CBS Sports.