Chris Olave to Return to Ohio State for Senior Year, Will Forgo 2021 NFL Draft

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2021

Ohio State receiver Chris Olave plays against Indiana during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

While the Ohio State Buckeyes lost quarterback Justin Fields when he announced he will enter the 2021 NFL draft Monday, they held on to one of the other key pieces in their aerial attack.

Wide receiver Chris Olave announced he will return for his senior season as Ohio State looks to win a national championship after reaching the College Football Playoff title game during the 2020 campaign:

Olave isn't the only notable Buckeyes playmaker who will return to their offense, as tight end Jeremy Ruckert and offensive tackle Thayer Munford Jr. both announced they will be back as well.

So many veterans coming back will be welcome news for whoever emerges as the starting quarterback for Ohio State in 2021. C.J. Stroud, Jack Miller and Kyle McCord are expected to compete for the position, and having weapons such as Olave, Garrett Wilson, Ruckert, Julian Fleming and Jaxon Smith-Njigba will make life much easier for the winner.

Olave arrived at Ohio State as a 3-star prospect in the class of 2018, per 247Sports' composite rankings.

While he was undoubtedly a talented player, he also started his collegiate career as an under-the-radar option at a football powerhouse that is known for bringing in 4- and 5-star recruits. His breakout performance came during the 2018 victory over archrival Michigan when he caught two touchdowns and blocked a punt that Ohio State returned for a touchdown.

From there, he posted 849 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in 2019 and 729 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in just seven games during the shortened 2020 campaign.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Two of his seven touchdown catches during the past season came in a dominant victory over Clemson in the CFP.

Olave had a chance to go in the first round in the 2021 NFL draft, but there are also a number of wide receivers who can say the same. Ja'Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, Rashod Bateman, Rondale Moore, Elijah Moore, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Kadarius Toney and Terrace Marshall Jr. are all potential first-round options.

Returning for the 2021 season means Olave can put up impressive numbers once again and solidify himself as a surefire first-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft that may not be quite as deep at wide receiver.