Ohio State wide receiver Jackson Smith-Njigba will not play in the Peach Bowl college football playoff semifinals against No. 1 Georgia after missing most of the season with a lower body injury, the school announced Monday. Smith-Njigba will begin preparation for the 2023 NFL Draft.
“I want to thank Jackson for everything he has done for our Ohio State program,” Ohio State Coach Ryan Day said in a statement. “He made such a big impact here at Columbus, on and off the field in a relatively short period of time. We all know he has a very bright future ahead of him and we all support him as he moves forward in his career. .”
Smith-Njigba hosted one of the best seasons in the program’s history during a breakout sophomore campaign in 2021; his 95 catches for 1,606 yards broke both program records, and his 347-yard performance against Utah in the 2022 Rose Bowl also holds an Ohio state record.
Smith-Njigba left the No. 4 Bakeev season opener against Notre Dame with a hamstring injury. He appeared in only two more games – victories over Toledo and Iowa – trying to recover from injury. In the end, he was unable to return for most of the season.
“More than anything, I want to compete with my brothers,” Smith-Njigba said. ESPN. “The decision to turn pro was made after I was unable to return several times during the season and the doctors determined that I would not be able to compete in the playoffs.”
Smith-Njigba is forecast as, who taunts him in front of the New York Giants with the 16th pick. He is expected to enter fully into the 2023 NFL Draft.
“Smith-Njigba has been battling injuries all season, but that shouldn’t detract from his revolutionary talents when he’s healthy,” Wilson said. The Giants are a different team under Brian Daball, but they’re still looking for the number one wide receiver.”
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Ohio State has overlooked Smith-Njigba’s ability to play this season, especially during a painful 45-23 loss against No. 2 Michigan. However, Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud still has a lot of weapons to work with as he heads to the college football playoffs. Top receivers Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka broke the 1,000-yard plateau after their teammate went down, with former five-star prospect Julian Fleming also showing up as an option. The 15 bowl workouts should also give some of Ohio State’s young receivers, including four real freshmen ranked among the top 151 recruits, a chance to catch up to play Georgia.
Smith-Njigba is unique as an NFL draft prospect after missing most of the season just prior to his entry into the draft. Unanimous preseason favorite Biletnikoff had just 43 receiving yards in what was to be his high point. Once a supposed top 10 pick, JSN fell due to missing the season. Training and testing will be incredibly important for Smith-Njigba to re-assert himself as the top prospect in the first round.
Former LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase found himself in a similar position after pulling out of the 2020 college football season following the 2019 Tigers national championship. Skipping the pandemic season ended up costing Chase nothing as he was selected with the No. 5 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and set an NFL rookie record with 1,455 rushing yards in his first year.