FootballRecruiting

2022 Big Board: Wide Receivers

There isn’t a program anywhere in the nation that has recruited the wide receiver position as well as Ohio State has the past two classes under Brian Hartline. The Buckeyes have signed arguably the nation’s best crop of receiver prospects in both the 2020 and 2021 recruiting classes.

While this position might not pose as big of a need as some others on the roster, it is once again going to be a focal point for Ohio State and the Buckeyes are off to a great start with Texas star Caleb Burton.

Our 2022 Big Board series continues below with five pass catchers to watch and an overall outlook for the position.

1. Kyion Grayes – 6’1 170 pounds – Chandler (AZ)

If there were odds placed on the next player to commit to Ohio State in the 2022 class, Grayes would be the betting favorite. The four-star prospect is set to make a visit to Columbus this weekend and things could move quickly from there if the city and campus check the boxes for Kyion and his family. The former Arizona pledge has been skyrocketing up the rankings in recent months and turned in a strong performance this past weekend in his home state at the Battle 7-on-7 showcase.

2. Kojo Antwi – 6’1 185 pounds – Suwanee (GA) Lambert

Much like Grayes, Antwi has been a fast riser in recent months and has become one of the top priority targets for Brian Hartline and the offensive staff. Ohio State is a distinct possibility for the four-star prospect but right now this is a very heated battle between the Buckeyes, Texas A&M and home state Georgia.

3. Kaleb Brown – 5’11 180 pounds – Chicago (IL) St. Rita

While most of this list contains taller outside receivers, Brown is a dynamic slot type of prospect with some capabilities as a running back as well. Brown has long been a player that the Buckeye staff really likes but has been thought to be a pretty heavy Michigan lean. While Michigan is probably still the safe pick, there is some thought out there that Ohio State may have more of a chance than expected.

4. C.J. Williams – 6’2 195 pounds – Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei

Williams has been on the Ohio State radar for a long time and is probably just as high on the Buckeyes as Brown and Antwi are, but with a working list of 16 schools right now, the competition is pretty fierce for the Top 50 prospect. A visit to Columbus would be telling here, but that will likely have to wait until at least the summer.

5. Omar Cooper – 6’1 170 pounds – Indianapolis (IN) Lawrence North

Cooper is one of the fastest rising prospects in the Midwest right now. The four-star prospect started hearing from Ohio State this winter and has been talking to the Buckeyes on a weekly basis. No offer has been extended yet, but Cooper should be getting a close look from the Buckeyes in the coming months and is very much at or near the top of the list of unoffered receivers who could be next in line.

Outlook

Ohio State is off to a fantastic start with the pledge of Caleb Burton and if the Buckeyes can add Grayes in the not too distant future, that would be one heck of a one-two punch for Brian Hartline coming off the two monster hauls in 2020 and 2021. Hartline’s approach over the past two cycles has been to offer a select group of receivers and really focus most of his time and energy on those players and he is again doing that in 2022 as offers at the position have been at a premium so far.

Right now it is pretty safe to assume that the Buckeyes will take at least three more receivers in this class. While three is probably the ideal number to continue to maintain a good balance in the room, there is always the possibility that attrition could impact that number. But for now, it’s safe to say that even if the Buckeyes add Grayes to the mix that they’ll still be looking for another big-time player to add to the group.

Much of the focus has been on the top four of the above list but with the lack of evaluation opportunities over the past year, it wouldn’t be a surprise at all to see a late riser emerge and catch Hartline’s attention this spring or summer. Grayes is the clear front-runner on the list in terms of the most likely to end up at Ohio State with Antwi, Williams, and Brown being fairly interchangeable at this point.

One player to perhaps keep an eye on who didn’t make the list is Westerville (Ohio) South speedster Kaden Saunders. Saunders committed early to Penn State and had a strong junior season for the Wildcats. The Buckeyes have continued to keep tabs on Saunders but have not yet offered and, early on, were looking at him as more of a defensive back. That situation is at least worth watching in the coming months but there hasn’t been any sign to this point that an offer is imminent.

Five-star Luther Burden committed early to Oklahoma over Ohio State, Alabama, and many others and has been rumored as a player who could take visits once things open back up. So far, there hasn’t been much of an indication that Burden is wavering, however.

Another prospect that Ohio State was on the short list for but committed elsewhere is Texas four-star Armani Winfield, but the Buckeyes are unlikely to continue to that pursuit after Winfield’s recent pledge to the Longhorns.