Ohio State Football played in week one’s biggest game against Notre Dame on Saturday night in Columbus. The Buckeyes trailed the Fighting Irish for most of the game, but pulled away in the fourth quarter to win 21-10. It wasn’t pretty, but the Buckeyes earned a top-five win all the same.

However, that victory came at a cost. Star wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who had over 1,600 yards last year and entered the season as a potential Heisman candidate, took a hard hit early in the game and eventually exited. Smith-Njigba had just two catches for three yards in the game, and his absence would leave a huge hole for the Buckeyes to fill.

Fortunately for the Buckeyes, they have an abundance of talent on offense. Losing the star wide receiver will still hurt, but Ohio State is more than capable of making up for his absence. These three players in particular need to step up for the Buckeyes to thrive without their star.

3. Cade Stover

Ohio State hasn’t asked for a lot out of its tight ends in recent years. Last season, Jeremy Ruckert led Buckeyes tight ends with 26 catches for 309 yards, while Stover had just five catches for 76 yards. Stover is the starter for this season, and he’ll have to step up with Smith-Njigba out.

Stover has switched positions multiple times throughout his college career. He started as a defensive end, then switched to linebacker, then between linebacker and tight end before finally settling on the latter. He’ll need to grow into the role quickly to help the Buckeyes reach their full potential.

Stover didn’t do anything too crazy on Saturday, just three catches for 14 yards. He doesn’t have to be a home-run hitter, but he needs to be an effective safety valve for C.J. Stroud. With Jaxon Smith-Njigba sidelined, Stover will have to step up sooner rather than later.

2. Marvin Harrison Jr.

Live and breathe sports?

🚨 Get viral graphics, memes, rumors and trending sports news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch Newsletter.

Harrison, son of legendary Colts receiver Marvin Harrison, didn’t see a ton of action as a freshman last season, but he made his chances count. Harrison Jr. started just one game for the Buckeyes, the Rose Bowl against Utah, and he went off. He caught six passes for 71 yards and three touchdowns, tying a Rose Bowl record.

With Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave both leaving for the NFL, Harrison Jr. will have a much larger role this season. He put together a decent night against the Irish, catching five passes for 56 yards. He’ll need more production with Jaxon Smith-Njigba out, but he definitely has the talent to do it.

The sophomore should view this opportunity as an audition of sorts. If he continues to grow, then maybe he follows in the footsteps of many Buckeyes before him, and his father, and becomes a star at the next level.

1. Ohio State football WR Emeka Egbuka

If Jaxon Smith-Njigba misses more time, Egbuka will become Ohio State football will have him as its new de facto top receiver. Like Harrison Jr, Egbuka didn’t see the field much last season due to the depth at the position. He had just nine catches for 191 yards and occasionally took kickoffs.

To the joy of Buckeyes fans, Egbuka showed huge progress on Saturday night. The sophomore receiver led the team with nine catches for 90 yards and his first college touchdown. That touchdown was a 31-yard catch-and-run where he evaded three Irish defenders on his way to the end zone.

Egbuka will have the weight of the world on his shoulders if he becomes the Buckeyes’ top pass catcher. If Saturday’s game is any indication though, he has the talent to handle the pressure. Ohio State football is in good hands.