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Austin Mack is poised to emerge as a game-changer at wide receiver for Ohio State.

Ohio State football’s Austin Mack on brink of stardom for Buckeyes

Austin Ward

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There is one name that seems to echo over the loudspeaker every time Ohio State opens up a spring practice to the media, and it probably won’t come as a surprise given how many times Urban Meyer has mentioned it publicly since the day Austin Mack walked on campus. The Buckeyes clearly have believed there was something special waiting to be unleashed in the junior wide receiver for a while now, and it looks like that moment has arrived.

When comparisons to Michael Thomas are being made and coaches are talking about a wideout bringing the same maniacal approach to handling his business as the former Ohio State star and current NFL sensation, the smart money would seem to be on that guy.

Ohio State-Michael Thomas-Ohio State football-New Orleans Saints-spring game
Ohio State standout Michael Thomas has set the bar for younger wide receivers such as Austin Mack. (Land of 10/file photo)

Mack doesn’t necessarily come with the same sort of freaky athleticism or maybe even the kind of upside that Binjimen Victor might possess, but there’s an argument to be made that Thomas didn’t either. That doesn’t mean Mack isn’t quick, can’t jump or doesn’t possess strong hands But there’s more that goes into being a standout weapon than just raw physical ability.

Coming off a season that ended with 24 catches and a pair of touchdowns, Mack is poised to make a significant jump in both categories. Thanks to his sharp route-running, added knowledge of the playbook and perhaps more opportunities with Ohio State looking to expand the passing attack, Mack’s third year in the program has the potential to be explosive. And that would only add to the comparisons with Thomas, who bounced back from a redshirt season to become the leading receiver for the national champions in 2014.

The only reasons Mack might not separate as the true top receiver probably would have nothing to do with him. Ohio State has so much depth, experience and talent on the roster in Zone 6 that any of the other receivers could make a leap as well — or the rotation might keep the numbers relatively even across the board. Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon, K.J. Hill, Terry McLaurin, Victor and even walk-on C.J. Saunders are all capable of causing problems for opposing defensive backs, which sets up a fascinating competition among the Buckeyes to see who can snag the most catches this season.

At this point from here, the new pick to emerge is Mack.


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