Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba won't play in College Playoff, intends to enter 2023 NFL Draft

Jaxon Smith-Njigba vs
Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba departs the Buckeyes holding multiple school records thanks to his sensational 2021 season. (Jay LaPrete / AP Photo)

Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba announced on Monday that he has played his final game for the Buckeyes.

Smith-Njigba, who was limited to just three games this season due to a hamstring injury, shared the news on social media, stating that it was determined after consulting with his doctors that he would not be able to play in Ohio State's College Football Playoff matchup against Georgia on Dec. 31.

He made just five grabs for 43 yards in limited action this season. In 2021, Smith-Njigba posted a Big-Ten record 1,606 receiving yards on 95 receptions while playing alongside 2022 first-round draft picks Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, including an eye-popping Rose Bowl performance (15 catches for 347 yards and three touchdowns).

"I want to thank Jaxon for all he has done for our Ohio State program," stated Ohio State coach Ryan Day in a release from the school. "He has had such a major impact here in 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 with his career."

A junior, Smith-Njigba has until the Jan. 16 underclassmen deadline to apply for early entry into the 2023 NFL Draft. With a rare combination of athletic gifts, route-running ability and ball skills, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound (school measurements) pass-catcher remains one of the most highly regarded prospects at his position despite the injury-plagued 2022 campaign.

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