Five Ohio State players are breakout candidates for the 2021 season.
Some people say “Ohio State doesn’t rebuild, they reload.” With the way Ohio State has been recruiting the last few years, the next man up could be just as dangerous as the last.
With ten players drafted in the 2021 NFL draft, how will Ohio State fulfill its National Championship aspirations in 2021? The Buckeye need some younger players to break out. This is just a matter of giving the right players the opportunities.
There are some players who are up-and-coming that might get some chances in 2021 that they didn’t have before.
5 Ohio State Breakout Candidates in 2021
Ohio State has three talented passers trying to win the starting job at quarterback. Whether the job goes to C.J. Stroud, Kyle McCord, or Jack Miller, the Ohio State quarterback will thrive in Ryan Day’s offense.
Stroud is the frontrunner to win the job and is the best all-around player. He has a good arm, good athleticism, and is most familiar with the offense. McCord put on a show during the Spring Game, showing off his live arm. So whoever the starting quarterback ends up being, he will sling the ball all over the field.
Whoever it is, they will be attempting their very first college football pass against Minnesota on September 2nd. There’s a good chance they end up becoming one of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten.
The Ohio State running backs room is stacked. Between Master Teague, Miyan Williams, Steele Chambers, Marcus Crowley, Treveyon Henderson, and Evan Pryor, there’s a lot of talent to go around. There could be two or three out of this group poised for a breakout in 2021.
Williams only had ten carries last season as a freshman. Four of them were in either the Big Ten Championship Game or the Sugar Bowl, and he totaled 31 yards between those two games. So when Ohio State played two of the best defenses they had seen all year, Williams averaged almost eight yards a carry.
While Teague will probably start and Henderson will get a lot of carries as well, Williams can be someone whose role expands as the season goes on. He might not get as many opportunities to start with, but he will take advantage and carve out a role for himself in 2021.
As a true freshman, Jaxon Smith-Njigba made what was debatably the play of the year in his first game. Smith-Njigba is coming off of a freshman year in which he only caught 10 passes. In 2021, he looks set to secure the slot role after Day moves Garrett Wilson to the outside.
With Wilson and Chris Olave on the outside as two potential first-round picks, Smith-Njigba will fly under the radar and get some favorable coverages from the slot. The Buckeyes will have three extremely talented receivers on the field, and defenses will struggle to cover all of them.
Paris Johnson Jr.
Another sophomore getting his shot, Paris Johnson Jr. came to Ohio State as a highly regarded tackle. He didn’t get much playing time his freshman year because there wasn’t a vacant spot for him. With right guard Wyatt Davis now in the NFL, Johnson will replace the former All-American.
Johnson showed in the Spring Game that he is up for the task.
True freshman Lathan Ransom played in the season opener against Nebraska and didn’t play again until the postseason. Like Williams, the vast majority of his playing time came in the conference championship game and the two college football playoff games.
Ransom is a natural safety, but he played at slot cornerback in the Spring Game. This shows that the coaching staff just wants to get him on the field any way they can. Ranson may not be a starter at the beginning of the season, but he will get to play. As Kerry Coombs tries to fix Ohio State’s horrific passing defense, Ransom will be able to play a big part in turning things around.