Home Sports Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Julian Fleming expected to play for Ohio State

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Julian Fleming expected to play for Ohio State

by Atlanta Business Journal

The No. 3-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes are expected to be fully healthy on the offensive side of the ball heading into their Week 3 matchup against Toledo, and that’s a scary thought for the rest of the college football universe.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who suffered a hamstring injury in the Buckeyes’ Week 1 win over Notre Dame, is expected to make his return to the field after missing the team’s matchup against Arkansas State last weekend. The preseason All-American wideout led Ohio State with 95 catches and 1,606 receiving yards in 2021.

“He’s further along than he was at this point last week,” OSU head coach Ryan Day said of Smith-Njigba. “We’re going to expect him to play this weekend, we’ll see how this week goes, but we’re going to only put him in the game if we feel 100 percent sure that he’s ready to roll.”

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Julian Fleming, a former five-star wideout who is expected to play a larger role in the offense this season, is set to make his 2022 season debut on Saturday. He suffered an undisclosed injury in camp and has been held out up to this point. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound wideout has recorded 19 catches for 160 yards and a touchdown in his first two seasons in Columbus.

With Smith-Njigba and Fleming out, sophomore wideouts Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr. have stepped up for the Buckeyes’ offense, combining for 25 catches for 448 yards and five touchdowns through two weeks. Egbuka was the star of OSU’s Week 1 win over Notre Dame, hauling in nine catches for 90 yards and a score, while Harrison Jr. put on a show in Week 2, totaling seven catches for 184 yards and three scores.

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Harrison Jr. was named the co-Big Ten offensive player of the week following his outstanding performance in Week 2. He became just the second player in school history to have multiple games with three-or-more receiving touchdowns, joining former Buckeye great Joey Galloway.

“With Marvin Harrison Jr. emerging much like (Jaxon) Smith-Njigba did last year, the return of JSN alongside Julian Fleming means the Buckeyes are the presumptive favorite to finish the year with the nation’s top receiving corps,” FOX Sports college football analyst RJ Young said. “Good luck with that, Big Ten.”

Heading into Week 3, the Buckeyes are the only offense in the Big Ten with more than five passing touchdowns and not a single interception.

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