Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave made a somewhat shocking decision on Monday when he announced his intentions to return to the Buckeyes for his senior season.
One more. pic.twitter.com/fLshkXoAQH
— Chris Olave (@chrisolave_) January 18, 2021
Olave saw his draft stock steadily rise throughout the 2020 season. He finished the year with 50 catches for 729 yards and seven scores in just seven games, including a 132-yard, two-touchdown performance against Clemson in the College Football Playoffs.
Olave was viewed as one of the top downfield threats in this year’s draft class, but in a year overflowing with top wide receiver prospects, it makes sense that Olave decided to return to school.
For as talented as Olave is, had he remained in the 2021 draft pool he wouldn’t have been picked before players like Ja’Marr Chase (LSU), Devonta Smith (Alabama), Jaylen Waddle (Alabama), or Rashod Bateman (Minnesota). He would’ve likely jockeyed with prospects like LSU’s Terrace Marshall, Florida’s Kadarious Toney, and Purdue’s Rondale Moore as the next guy off the board, which at best will be a late-first-round pick.
Now, Olave is likely to be viewed as the top senior wide receiver in the 2022 NFL draft who can elevate his draft slot into the top-20 with another productive year in 2021. With next year’s draft cycle likely returning to normal in a post-COVID-19 reality, Olave will get his chance to shine at the NFL Combine too, which won’t take place in its usual form this year.
And let’s not forget the whole education thing. Players who are equipped to live a productive life after football are always better off, and if Olave gets his degree next year, it’s a win-win.