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Ohio State Buckeyes reportedly expected to lose multiple stars, including Marvin Harrison Jr, to 2024 NFL Draft

The Ohio State Buckeyes are the best team in college football this season, led by All-American wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. and one of the best defenses in the nation. However, Ryan Day and the Buckeyes’ coaching staff might only have a short window to make things work with this talented roster.

Ohio State is loaded with some of the best players in college football on both sides of the ball. Buckeyes’ game draw scouts, executives and general managers from several NFL teams each week, with everyone focused on the next wave of talent coming to the league.

  • Marvin Harrison Jr stats 2023: 42 receptions, 766 receiving yards, 18.2 yards per catch, 6 touchdowns, 773 scrimmage yards in seven games

Related: 2023 college football rankings, Ohio State Buckeyes at No. 1

In the case of Harrison Jr, the Buckeyes’ coaching staff knew they would only have him for a short time. Following a unanimous All-American season in 2022, NFL teams were already talking up the son of the Pro Football Hall of Famer as the best wide receiver outside the NFL. While teams knew they had to wait for him, many believed he could quickly step in and challenge for All-Pro status in the NFL, much like Ja’Marr Chase did in his rookie season.

While Harrison Jr. was always expected to enter the 2024 NFL Draft, he reportedly isn’t the only prominent player likely leaving the team.

According to Sportskeeda’s Tony Pauline, wide receiver Emeka Egbuka is actively meeting with agents and will follow his teammate to the NFL, foregoing an opportunity to return to Ohio State in 2024.

It would be a bit of an interesting decision, one that falls in line with the same choice former Buckeyes’ star Jaxon Smith-Njigba made this past offseason. Entering college football games today has played in just five of seven games for Ohio State due to injuries. He’s been far more inconsistent compared to last season, finishing with fewer than 60 receiving yards in three contests and having four games without a touchdown. In 2022, Egbuka finished under 60 yards just three times and scored in 9-of-13 games.

  • Emeka Egbuka college stats: 105 receptions, 1,645 receiving yards, 13 touchdowns, 15.7 yards per catch across 28 games played

Not only will Egbuka likely not be coming off a strong season, he might also run into some issues during the pre-draft process. Pauline also notes that Egbuka is not expected to test extremely well athletically, but NFL teams remain high on him in a class of pass-catchers that isn’t viewed as super deep.

Related: Will J.J. McCarthy return to Michigan in 2024?

Highlighting early Ohio State Buckeyes 2024 NFL Draft prospects

Syndication: USA TODAY
Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Harrison Jr. and Egbuka wouldn’t be the only Ohio State stars headed for the NFL. Edge rusher J.T. Tuimoloau is skyrocketing up draft boards, likely becoming a projected top-20 pick. Meanwhile, cornerback Denzel Burke, defensive lineman Michael Hall Jr., edge rusher Jack Sawyer and running back TreVeyon Henderson are also top 2024 NFL Draft prospects.

It remains possible that Sawyer and Henderson could at least consider returning to the Buckeyes for their senior year. After a breakout freshman season in 2021 – 1,560 scrimmage yards and 19 touchdowns in 13 games – Henderson has managed just 939 scrimmage yards with 12 scores over 12 contests in the last two years.

Related: 2024 NFL Draft order right now

  • Marvin Harrison Jr career stats: 130 receptions, 2,168 receiving yards, 23 touchdowns

While Henderson, Sawyer and Hall Jr. might not be viewed as first-round talents right now, even the opportunity to be a Day 2 pick and immediately earn NFL money could sway them. If that’s the case, Ohio State’s No.2-ranked 2024 recruiting class and its freshman from the No.3-ranked 2023 class will need to step up next season.

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