Ohio State could be without one of its top four wide receivers for its season opener.
Third-year wideout Julian Fleming, who took first-team reps this preseason alongside Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Marvin Harrison Jr., is listed as a game-time decision against Notre Dame. He participated in early warmups with his teammates before appearing later wearing street clothes on the field, further indicating his status as questionable.
OHIO STATE STATUS REPORT FOR NOTRE DAME
WR JULIAN FLEMING
RB EVAN PRYOR
Ryan Day said Fleming, named an Iron Buckeye ahead of this season his hard work in the weight room, had his best-ever offseason since the five-star recruit joined Ohio State back in 2020.
Fleming missed four games in 2021 due to injury, and had offseason shoulder surgery following his true freshman season. Fleming has dealt with shoulder issues since high school, and recently had a shoulder pop out of its socket during an Ohio State preseason practice. However, Day said Fleming popped his shoulder back into place and scored two touchdowns in a scrimmage that immediately followed the injury.
If Fleming doesn’t play, sophomore wideout Emeka Egbuka is likely to get the start in his place. Egbuka logged 115 snaps as a true freshman and finished the season with nine catches for 191 yards. Egbuka was a five-star recruit and the No. 1 overall wide receiver prospect in the country in 2021.
Aside from Fleming being questionable, Ohio State is nearly at full strength.
Fifth-year receiver Kamryn Babb, who has missed three full seasons at Ohio State due to repeated knee injuries, appears to be available for the Buckeyes on Saturday. Babb recently suffered another knee injury during the preseason, causing him to wear a bulky brace at practice, but Day said it wouldn’t be a season-ending setback.
The only three Buckeyes listed as unavailable for Notre Dame are walk-on cornerback Lloyd McFarquhar, third-year defensive lineman/linebacker Mitchell Melton and second-year running back Evan Pryor. Melton suffered a torn ACL during April’s spring game, and Pryor tore his ACL during the preseason; both are slated to miss the entire season.