Why ESPN calls Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka best WRs in college football

Colin Gay
The Columbus Dispatch

ESPN has high expectations for both Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka heading into the 2023 season.

A poll of 10 ESPN college football writers put Harrison and Egbuka as two of the top 10 wide receivers in college football heading into the fall. Harrison and Egbuka are the Big Ten's only representatives.

ESPN reporter Todd McShay's latest 2024 NFL mock draft has both Harrison (No. 2 Arizona Cardinals) and Egbuka (No. 21 New Orleans Saints) selected in the first round along with defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau (No. 8 Chicago Bears), defensive end Jack Sawyer (No. 15 Denver Broncos), defensive tackle Mike Hall Jr. (No. 19 New York Giants) and cornerback Denzel Burke (No. 25 Los Angeles Chargers).

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Here's why expectations for both junior receivers are so high.

Why ESPN calls Marvin Harrison Jr. the best wide receiver heading into 2023

Nov 12, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA;  Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Emeka Egbuka (2) celebrates a touchdown by wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) during the first half of the NCAA football game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

To ESPN writers, Harrison is undoubtedly the best wide receiver in college football heading into 2023.

After recording 1,263 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2022, becoming Ohio State's first unanimous All-American wide receiver, Harrison received all 10 first-place votes as the best returning wide receiver heading into the fall.

"He's the overwhelming favorite to win the Biletnikoff Award in 2023 before likely becoming the first non-quarterback selected in the 2024 NFL draft," ESPN's Adam Rittenberg writes.

In CBS Sports' latest 2024 NFL mock draft, Harrison is the second player selected behind USC quarterback Caleb Williams.

Could Emeka Egbuka be the second-best wide receiver in college football in 2023?

April 15, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA;  
Wide receiver Emeka Egkuba (2) poses for photos with fans following the Ohio State spring football game Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
Mandatory Credit: Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch

Harrison is not the only Ohio State wide receiver that ESPN predicts to make an impact in the fall.

Egbuka is ranked as the second-best wide receiver in college football heading into the 2023 season as "an intelligent, physical receiver whose versatility makes him the total package. "

Using him in the slot, on the outside, out of the backfield and in the return game, Egbuka recorded 1,238 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, averaging 14.6 yards per touch.

"Egbuka is entering only his second season as a full-time starter," ESPN's Heather Dinich writes, "but with a new starting quarterback, the staff is looking for Egbuka to cement himself as a leader and consistently play mistake-free."

In CBS Sports' latest 2024 NFL mock draft, Egbuka is the second wide receiver and ninth player selected.

Ohio State football schedule 2023

Here's what Ohio State's 2023 football schedule looks like.

  • Sept. 2: Ohio State vs. Indiana, Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Indiana
  • Sept. 9: Ohio State vs. Youngstown State, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
  • Sept. 16: Ohio State vs. Western Kentucky, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
  • Sept. 23: Ohio State vs. Notre Dame, Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana
  • Oct. 7: Ohio State vs. Maryland, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
  • Oct. 14: Ohio State vs. Purdue, Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Indiana
  • Oct. 21: Ohio State vs. Penn State, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
  • Oct. 28: Ohio State vs. Wisconsin, Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wisconsin
  • Nov. 4: Ohio State vs. Rutgers, SHI Stadium, Piscataway, New Jersey
  • Nov. 11: Ohio State vs. Michigan State, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio 
  • Nov. 18: Ohio State vs. Minnesota, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
  • Nov. 25: Ohio State vs. Michigan, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

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