Our Ohio State trophy watch continues with the Biletnikoff Award. This award is given each year to the top receiver in college football. Last season Jaxon Smith-Njigba made a name for himself, especially in the Rose Bowl. But Ohio State is a tough place for receivers to compete for this award as the Buckeyes usually have a great receiving corps. This results in competition among teammates spreading the votes around rather than going to one player. But this year may be different. Let’s look at how this season might see Smith-Njigba break into a finalist spot, and perhaps even bringing home the hardware.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba Will Be The Go-To Receiver For The Best College Quarterback
C.J. Stroud is the front runner for the Heisman, and will be a dynamic player this year. With stellar performances already on his resume and a solid offseason, the redshirt sophomore is looking to reach even greater heights this time around. And as already noted, this offense is promising to be unstoppable.
As Stroud’s go-to receiver, Smith-Njigba has an opportunity to rack up huge numbers, and, more notably, make a ton of big plays. His 15 reception, 347 yard, three touchdown performance in the Rose Bowl could very well be a sneak preview of what’s to come. Big numbers and big plays will keep him in the spotlight and this will play a large factor in the voting. While Smith-Njigba still has to perform, being the number one receiver for the possible Heisman winner definitely doesn’t hurt.
His Teammates Are Still On The Rise
In a talented receiving corps, Smith-Njigba stands out. Last year, Smith-Njigba, Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, both of whom departed to the NFL, were all potential favorites. But being on the same team, though it made for a more explosive offense, also was detrimental, as they “took” votes away from each other.
This year, Marvin Harrison Jr., Julian Fleming and Emeka Egbuka will be joining Smith-Njigba in this year’s Buckeye offense. But they have yet to establish themselves. By the time they do, Smith-Njigba will likely be known nationally as the heart of this top receiving corps and will be in no danger in having the limelight taken from him. This is a unique situation that gives him a great opportunity to shine.
The Ohio State Trophy Watch Conclusion: The Drought Has To End
In 1995 Terry Glenn won the second ever Biletnikoff Award. Since then not one Buckeye has even been a finalist. Which the talent that Ohio State has amassed at receiver, and at quarterback, this drought is bound to end. Sooner rather than later. Will Jaxon Smith-Njigba win it? Perhaps. It depends on how this plays out of course. But if he continues his trend he should at least be looking at a spot as a finalist.
The journey begins Sept 3 against Notre Dame.
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