In January, many had Chris Olave penciled in as an early 2021 NFL Draft pick. The Ohio State star wide receiver had a fantastic season in 2020, catching 50 passes for 729 yards and seven touchdowns in just seven games.
That followed up an 840 yard, 12 touchdown season in 2019, as a sophomore. He was one of Justin Fields‘ top targets during his run as the Buckeyes’ star quarterback, and could have contended to go in the first round of another wide receiver-heavy draft.
Olave had his best game of the year on one of the biggest stages. He caught six passes for 132 yards and two scores against Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal. In his last game of the season—the national championship against Alabama—he caught eight passes for 69 yards in the 52-24 loss.
That game left a seriously bad taste in Olave’s mouth. One week after the loss, he announced that he would return for his senior season, giving the Buckeyes a major boost for 2021. The reason: he couldn’t end his college career on that loss to ‘Bama.
Chris Olave said he had a “terrible feeling in my stomach” after Ohio State's national championship game loss to Alabama.
“I just didn't want to leave college like that.”
He also said getting his degree is another reason why he chose to come back for another year.
— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) April 15, 2021
It would have been hard to judge Olave for leaving, considering how well he’s played over the last two years, and with many mocks landing him in the first round. Still, you have to respect a player sticking it out for one more year like he is.
It certainly helps that he is only 20, relatively young for a rising senior, giving him solid upside moving forward. He’ll turn 21 this June.
Chris Olave has 110 receptions for 1,766 yards and 22 touchdowns in three years with Ohio State football. He’ll look to cement his status as one of college football’s best pass catchers and a first-round talent with a big senior season.