Chris Olave announces he will return for senior season at Ohio State

Bill Rabinowitz
Buckeye Xtra

Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave announced Monday that he would return to Ohio State for his senior season.

The announcement is huge for the Buckeyes' offense, which will have to replace Justin Fields at quarterback and running back Trey Sermon, who earlier announced they would enter the NFL draft. Tight end Jeremy Ruckert also announced Monday that he would return for the 2021 season.

"I'd like to thank God first for this life, without him none of this is possible," Olave said on Twitter before thanking strength coach Mickey Marotti, coach Ryan Day, wide receivers coach Brian Hartline and others on the staff.

"There are so many great memories but we're not done yet," he wrote. "I'll be returning for my senior year at Ohio State."

In seven games during the 2020 season, Olave caught 50 passes for 729 yards and seven touchdowns as he and sophomore Garrett Wilson were by far Justin Fields' favorite targets.

Ohio State football:Offseason roster tracker: Who is staying and leaving?

His value was perhaps never more clear than when he missed the Big Ten championship game against Northwestern because of COVID-19 protocols. Ohio State's passing game struggled badly in that game. Fields completed only 12 of 27 passes for 114 yards.

Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave announced his NFL decision.

In his three-year career, Olave has caught 110 catches for 1,766 yards and 22 touchdowns.

He was projected as a likely first-round NFL pick.

Olave's return, along with that of Ruckert and left tackle Thayer Munford, will be a huge benefit to an Ohio State offense that will have to break in a new quarterback. C.J. Stroud and Jack Miller were Fields' backups this year, with Stroud taking a snap against Clemson when Fields left the game for a play after being speared. But neither freshmen threw a pass in a game. The Buckeyes also have incoming five-star freshman Kyle McCord to compete for the job.

Munford, who protects the quarterback's blind side, is taking advantage of the NCAA granting an extra year of eligibility because of COVID-19. He will be a four-year start

An under-the-radar recruit because he was ruled ineligible for his junior year of high school after transferring, Olave emerged late in his freshman year in 2018. His breakout game came against Michigan. He caught two touchdown passes and blocked a punt in the Buckeyes' 62-39 upset win over the No. 4 Wolverines.

Olave continued his growth in 2019. Olave caught 48 passes for 840 yards and 12 touchdowns. The season ended on a sour note, though, when he made a misread and broke off his route as the Buckeyes tried to drive for a last-minute touchdown to beat Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinals. Fields' pass was intercepted.

The play haunted Olave so much that he didn't even eat solid food for a few days after the game, and it motivated him throughout the pandemic-affected offseason. He said he never considered opting out of the season because he couldn't end his Buckeye career on that play

The Buckeyes did avenge their loss to Clemson with a 49-28 rout in this year's semifinal. Olave caught six passes for 132 yards and two touchdown passes in that game.

Against Alabama in last Monday's CFP title game, he was Ohio State's leading receiver with eight catches for 69 yards.


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