Brian Hartline, who has recruited and mentored some of the best wide receivers in the nation during his four years as the program’s wide receivers coach, will have increased responsibility with the offensive game plan beginning in 2022 with his promotion to passing game coordinator by head coach Ryan Day.
The promotion came as no surprise and his resume is indicative of this. Hartline has been a rising star among college coaches since becoming a full-time staff member in 2018 after one season as an offensive analyst. He was a standout receiver for Ohio State from 2005-08, graduated in 2009 and spent seven seasons in the National Football League, six of them with the Miami Dolphins and one as a Cleveland Brown. He played in 104 NFL games with 73 starts and produced 344 career receptions for 4,766 yards and 14 touchdowns.
In January 2022, Hartline was named the FootballScoop wide receivers coach of the year, an honor voted on by former recipients of the award. In 2019 he was honored by the American Football Coaches Association as one of its AFCA 35 Under 35 honorees, a prestigious program that develops “premier, future leaders” in the coaching profession.
Hartline’s wide receiver’s unit was spectacular in 2021 with three All-Americans. Senior Chris Olave and junior Garrett Wilson were each first-team All-Americans, the fourth and fifth wide receivers in school history to be so named, and sophomore Jackson Smith-Njigba was a second-team All-American.
Smith-Njigba set Ohio State game and single season records for receptions (15 vs. Nebraska and Utah; and 96 for the season) and receiving yards (an all-time bowl record 347 yards vs. Utah; and 1,606 for the season). Olave set the Ohio State career record with 35 touchdown receptions and capped his career with 65 receptions for 936 yards and 13 touchdowns. Wilson had 70 catches this season for 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Remarkably, Smith-Njigba, Wilson and Olave all finished in the Ohio State single season Top 10s for receptions and yards.
And when Olave and Wilson each opted-out of playing in the Rose Bowl game to begin preparation for the NFL Combine, freshmen Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka, and sophomore Julian Fleming, stepped up and combined for 14 receptions for 152 yards and three touchdowns, all of them to Harrison Jr., in the win over Utah.
In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson were each named first-team all-Big Ten Conference, marking just the second time in school history two receivers earned the honor.
In 2019, K.J. Hill broke the school record for career receptions with 201 and he finished sixth in school history with 2,332 receiving yards. Hill, and teammates Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin, were selected in the NFL Draft and continue playing in the league for the Los Angeles Chargers, Indianapolis Colts and the Washington Football Team, respectively.
Chris Olave, with 2,711 career yards, and Hill, with 2,332 career yards, lead a near double-figure contingent of 10 Buckeyes who have topped 1,000 career receiving yards as Buckeyes under Hartline. The others: Garrett Wilson (2,213), Campbell (1,768), Jaxon Smith-Njigba (1,566), Bin Victor (1,340), McLaurin (1,251), Dixon (1,146) and Austin Mack (1,050). Twice – in 2018 and 2019 – Ohio State has had at least four receivers on the team with more than 1,000 receiving yards.
Hartline joined the Ohio State staff in early 2017 as a quality control coach after a terrific playing career in the NFL. Among former Buckeye receivers who played in the NFL, Hartline ranks high statistically when comparing them: he is fifth among NFL Buckeyes in yards, per catch average (13.9) and games started; sixth in games played and receptions; and seventh in touchdowns.
Hartline played for the Scarlet and Gray from 2005 through 2008 and was a part of four Big Ten championship teams – meaning he’s been with nine Ohio State teams and has won eight Big Ten titles, including a record four consecutive outright Big Ten championships in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. He also played an integral role in Ohio State reaching consecutive BCS National Championship games in 2006 and 2007. In 2007, he caught a career-best 52 passes for 694 yards and six touchdowns. Hartline’s career numbers include 90 catches, 1,429 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Hartline, from North Canton, Ohio, graduated from Ohio State in spring 2009 with his degree in communications. He and his wife, Kara, have two young children, a son, Brayden, and a daughter, Brooklyn.
Brian Hartline Quick Facts
Hometown: North Canton, Ohio
High School: GlenOak
Alma Mater: Ohio State, 2009
Year in Coaching: Sixth (Sixth at Ohio State)
Children: Son, Brayden; Daughter, Brooklyn
Brian Hartline Coaching Assignments
2022-pres.: Passing Game Coordinator / Wide Receivers – Ohio State
2019-21: Wide Receivers – Ohio State
2018: Interim Wide Receivers – Ohio State
2017: Quality Control – Wide Receivers Ohio State
2022 – Rose Bowl (NY6), Ohio State
2021 – CFB National Championship Game
2020 – Sugar Bowl (CFB Semifinals), Ohio State
2019 – Fiesta Bowl (CFB Semifinals), Ohio State
2018 – Rose Bowl (NY6), Ohio State
2017 – Cotton Bowl (NY6), Ohio State
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