McLaurin is using lessons from OSU to become a leader in Washington originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
When the Washington Football Team selected Terry McLaurin in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the consensus explained that he was a talented receiver with a high upside. There was little doubt he would make an impact in the league, even if many didn't expect the meteoric rise he's had.
Yet, another positive surrounding McLaurin was his strong character and leadership, something that he demonstrated during his time at Ohio State and has since shown in the NFL as he was named a team captain on Wednesday. By 2019, that position group for the Buckeyes had a reputation for developing talented pass catchers who are were seen as important figures in the dynamic of the locker room.
However, as McLaurin explained, that wasn't always the case.
“Actually, when I first got to Ohio State, wide receivers were kind of looked at as, I hate to put it this way, but kind of like the joke of the team," McLaurin said. "For whatever reason, when I was there, before I got there, we weren’t really seen as leaders.”
Stepping onto campus in 2014 as a freshman, McLaurin along with fellow receivers Parris Campbell and Johnnie Dixon was tasked with a major challenge: change that. It was something that the likes of assistant athletic director Mickey Marotti, often referred to as Coach Mick, saw in the young pass-catchers.
Being that he was just being introduced to college football, McLaurin didn't quite understand how he was supposed to re-establish the position at Ohio State. His biggest concern was just finding a way onto the field.
“I’m a freshman, I’m just trying to get through that hard workout," McLaurin said. "I didn’t know what he was talking about.”
Soon enough, McLaurin did begin to grasp what it took to become an all-around player with the mentality to match the skills. Working with Marotti, head coach Urban Meyer and wide receivers coach Brian Hartline, he began to see himself become someone who was vocal and a role model for others on the team while producing at an elite level.
In 2018, McLaurin's final season in Columbus, the Buckeyes has three team captains that came from the receiver room. In just a few seasons, he had helped create a new stigma around what it means to be an Ohio State wide receiver.
“Over the course of my time there I learned a lot of leadership skills, learned from a lot of great people, players and coaches," McLaurin said.
Now with Washington, those lessons continue to aid McLaurin each step of the way. He understands what it takes to be a main voice for a football team, and he's demonstrated that early on. From postgame speeches to motivate the team, to showing up every day to get better, it's clear he's a crucial part of Washington's future.
As a freshman in college, becoming a leader wasn't something McLaurin gave much thought to. But growing up on and off the field in the Ohio State program, he's ready to be the main guy throughout his professional career.
“I’m fortunate to have that experience at Ohio State, what it’s like to be a leader for a great program like that, a big program like that. I’m just trying to take what I learned there and try to apply it here and continue to learn and grow because I’m so young both in my playing career and as a leader," McLaurin said. "So I’m excited for what’s going forward.”