Ohio State's Jaxon Smith-Njigba is reportedly receiving some pushback after Monday's announcement that he would be entering the NFL draft and skipping out on the College Football Playoff in order to heal a hamstring injury that's lingered all season long.
According to ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay, word around pro scouting circles is that Smith-Njigba is healthy enough to play and is just protecting himself and his draft position.
Saying Tuesday, “There are a lot of reports from NFL scouts that I’ve talked to [who] said he’s healthy enough to play and he’s protecting himself for the draft. ... I got news for every prospect out there: NFL teams know."
Today, Smith-Njigba's mother came to her son's defense on Twitter. Explaining that forcing him to play would be "selfish" and "abusive."
Being [with] my son yesterday for his first day of rehab and seeing his limitations for myself gave me peace [with] our families choice to get my son healthy. Encouraging him play would be selfish and abusive. I’m at peace [because] I know he’s in the right hands [for] recovery.
The star wideout injured his hamstring in the season-opener against Notre Dame and could never get it quite right; appearing in portions of just two more games in the regular season.
In 2021, Smith-Njigba broke the Big Ten record for receiving yards, punctuated by a 347-yard, three touchdown performance in the Rose Bowl.