Chris Olave was the last player to commit to Ohio State’s 2018 recruiting class in January, but the receiver has emerged as one of the few freshmen from that group that the Buckeyes might lean on down the stretch.
Olave said after practice on Wednesday that he knows his break was due in large part to the foot injury Austin Mack suffered at Purdue three games ago. The Buckeyes play Saturday at Maryland.
“With Mack going out, I just stepped into that role (as a backup to Binjimen Victor), and it is definitely an honor to be here and to be playing,” said Olave, who had two catches last week in a win at Michigan State.
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From Mission Hills School in San Marcos, California, north of San Diego, Olave was barely on the radar headed into his senior season there after he sat out his junior season as a transfer. He was discovered by Ohio State offensive coordinator Ryan Day, who visited Mission Hills in October to check out its quarterback.
The Buckeyes passed on the quarterback but made a play for Olave, who was on his way to an astounding season in which he had 93 catches for 1,764 yards and 26 touchdowns. Olave made an immediate impression in summer offseason drills, senior receiver Parris Campbell said.
“He’s a fast learner. He takes what he gets in the meetings and he takes it to the field,” Campbell said. “He’s a featherweight right now … but he’s electric, he’s super fast, he’s efficient in his top ends, he has great hands. He’s everything you want in a receiver.
“I think come the wintertime when coach Mick (Marotti, football performance coordinator) gets ahold of him, he’ll look a lot stockier. … But his ceiling is through the roof.”
Grimes’ mother loses job
Two insiders in the Ohio State program confirmed for The Dispatch on Wednesday that Leah Grimes, the mother of former Ohio State and current Florida receiver Trevon Grimes, lost her job as a result of details contained in a WatchStadium story about her son’s transfer last year.
Attempts by The Dispatch to reach her were unsuccessful.
The story, which alleged that Trevon Grimes left Ohio State after then-receivers coach Zach Smith directed a racial slur at him during an incident at practice, was rebutted by teammates in addition to university president Michael V. Drake, athletic director Gene Smith and coach Urban Meyer. The story also asserted that Leah Grimes, a nurse, had lost her professional license in two states before moving to Florida.
Meyer said Ohio State helped facilitate Grimes’ transfer because he said he wanted to be closer to his mother, who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Gene Smith said he signed off on it after gaining proof through Leah Grimes’ medical records, and Trevon Grimes was granted immediate playing eligibility at Florida this season.
Browning out again
Meyer said backup middle linebacker Baron Browning will miss his second straight game because of an unspecified injury. Like last week, Justin Hilliard is expected to back up Tuf Borland.