After being left off the initial two-deep depth chart, Ohio State redshirt freshman wide receiver K.J. Hill made sure everyone knew his name after last Saturday’s game against Bowling Green.
Hill caught the first offensive touchdown of the season for OSU, and looks to be a primary target for redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett in the future.
Hill, listed at 6-foot and 200 pounds, redshirted last season after after competing for a vital receiving role with the likes of three now-NFL receivers. The former four-star recruit from North Little Rock High School hauled in two receptions for 58 yards along with the first quarter touchdown reception.
The crowded wide receiver unit, filled with upperclassmen like redshirt senior Corey Smith, junior James Clark, along with versatile H-backs like junior Curtis Samuel and senior Dontre Wilson who can make plays with their hands and their feet, could easily cause a young player like Hill to get lost in the mix. However, the redshirt freshman knows he can prevent being overshadowed by performing at a high level against Tulsa.
“Every time you get a ball or a chance you gotta make the most of it,” Hill said.
Initially committed to Arkansas, Hill jumped ship and made the decision to become a Buckeye after former OSU co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash left the Razorbacks to join OSU coach Urban Meyer’s squad. Hill said he was the one who made the call to see if the Buckeyes had an open spot for him.
Meyer spoke highly of the ability of both Hill and his teammate — redshirt sophomore Noah Brown — on their ability to connect with Barrett and synchronize the timing of the routes they run. The relationship and ability by both men has earned high praise from the Buckeye coaching staff.
Hill said the time he spent away from the field during his redshirt season motivated him to come out and work harder to become a top receiver for the Buckeyes.
“It’s a tough process you go through. You know, I redshirted so I had a lot of downfalls and a lot of doubts,” Hill said. “I just kept going hard in practice, and my hard work paid off. I look back at it now and it was crazy.”
Even with the top-tier production from Hill, he said the order of wide receivers has not changed, firmly placing him around the fifth or sixth receiver mark. Although this may seem buried in the depth chart, Hill can make a move up the roster if he continues to play at a high level.
Hill will get his chance to make big plays against the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.