Ohio State’s wide receiving corps for 2019 just got a whole lot better as K.J. Hill announced on Tuesday night via social media that he will not be entering the NFL Draft and will return to Ohio State for his senior season.
K.J. Hill was projected to be selected in the middle rounds of the NFL Draft and decided to stay one more year.
Hill had a clear message towards the end of his announcement, “I’m ready to help lead us to another National Championship.”
As a fourth-year junior, Hill hauled in 70 receptions (second on the team in that mark) for a total of 885 yards (also second on the team) while also hauling in six touchdowns.
I spoke with K.J. Hill after the Rose Bowl Game about what the main factors were that played into his decision.
“There’s a lot,” said Hill. “You know, the quarterback situation, injuries can go into it, you know, there’s just a lot of pros and cons, I still have to go through that. But, I think a lot of it is on the QB situation.”
With the quarterback situation being the key element in Hill’s decision process, the move by Ryan Day to bring in Georgia transfer quarterback Justin Fields must have been very encouraging to Hill with Dwayne Haskins leaving for the NFL Draft.
“I feel like with Parris [Campbell], Terry [McLaurin] and Johnnie [Dixon] leaving, that opens up more windows for things for me,” said Hill on what he feels like he can gain from returning for his senior season. “Especially on the field, also being a leader. I’m going to have to step up and be a leader, probably a captain. A lot of things go into that too, but I feel like those are the main things.”
With the loss of talented seniors such as Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin and Johnnie Dixon, younger players such as breakout receiver Chris Olave and highly-touted freshman Jaylen Harris will see much increased playing time. I asked Hill how he feels about the abilities of the younger receivers on the team.
“We see it every day in practice,” said Hill. “I feel like we set a standard in the wide receiver room. Coach Hartline held us to that and he doesn’t let it drop off, so I feel like he’s going to play a big part in that. And with [the younger receivers], they know the standard and the shoes they’ve got to fill with all the seniority we had, but I feel like it’ll be a steady pace and we’re going to be the best receiver room in the country.”
With Hill’s return, Brian Hartline adds even more depth – and much-needed experience – to his receiving corps as he prepares for his first season as wide receivers coach without an interim tag.
Even with the departure of the trio of star seniors, Hill’s return bolsters what will be an extremely talented receivers room, with players like Austin Mack, Binjimen Victor, Chris Olave, Jaylen Harris, C.J. Saunders, Jaelen Gill, Kamryn Babb and newly-added 2019 five-star wide receiver Garrett Wilson, who is already on Ohio State’s campus as an early enrollee.
The Buckeyes might be losing some great receivers, but there is still plenty of depth in the receivers room at Ohio State.
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