Four years ago, when Ray Small committed to Ohio State to play football, his coach truly believed he would be a better receiver than his own son, Ted Ginn Jr. For Small’s first three years of his career with the Buckeyes, he has had troubles getting onto the field, with issues off the field, injuries, and lack of production. In Small’s freshman season, he saw action in eleven games bud didn’t produce much due to the talented group of receivers Ohio State had including Ginn, Anthony Gonzalez, Brian Robiskie, and Brian Hartline all starting over Small. Even with the hole he was in, Small caught 8 balls for 68 yards and a touchdown. The 2007 season looked like it was going to be his breakout year as Ginn and Gonzalez bolted for the NFL leaving him at the third string receiver position. Once again, that season was a disappointment as Small caught 20 passes for 267 yards and 2 touchdowns. For the Cleveland Glenville product, these first two years were not what he expected to do on campus. In high school, Small was as talented a receiver as anyone in the country, listed as the 11th ranked Wide Receiver for the class of 2006, many Buckeye fans, including myself, believed Small would add to the wealth of speed the Buckeyes had. At 5′11″, 170 lbs, running a 4.4 40 yard dash, Ray was often compared to his former high school teammate Ginn. These expectations proved to be too much as in Small’s junior season a year ago, he caught 18 passes for 149 yards and no touchdowns. Small, who has speed to burn, great route running skills, and incredible hands when he is in a hot streak, has all the tools to become a great player.
As Terrelle Pryor is going to start his first full season as a starter, Small expects to be the #1 receiver out of camp. Battling Devier Posey, and Lamaar Thomas, this could be Small’s year. In his previous three years, he had guys in front of him that are all in the NFL. 2009 looks to be the year where Small comes up big and produces like he was expected to when he signed with the Buckeyes on January 23, 2006. If Small can keep a good head on his shoulders, he could really become a threat to opponents because so far in his career, the senior has flown under the radar. With the versatility of Pryor, Ohio State looks to run more spread sets which could mean more oppurtunites for #82. In his last chance as a college football player, Small has shown the determination, toughness, and talent to make it and the results have shown. In the spring game, Small caught several passes, one for a long TD pass from Pryor where Small burned the secondary down the sideline. If he can do that on Ohio State’s defense, imagine what he can do against the Big Ten.