Jaxon Smith-Njigba out again as hamstring issues persist

Ohio State star wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba will not play Saturday against Penn State, the school announced.

The timetable for Smith-Njigba's return is uncertain, sources told ESPN, as he deals with a vexing hamstring injury. Smith-Njigba didn't practice this week and didn't travel with the team to State College, Pennsylvania, sources said.

Smith-Njigba has yet to play a complete game this season for the No. 2 Buckeyes, as the frustration started when he injured his hamstring against Notre Dame early in the season opener. He returned for games against Toledo (Sept. 17) and Iowa (Oct. 22) but was unable to finish either contest.

Ohio State has treated Smith-Njigba's injury with an abundance of caution, waiting until after the bye week to return against Iowa last week. But Smith-Njigba pulled up on a route in the second quarter, leaving the field with a slight limp, and never went back in the game.

Smith-Njigba entered his junior season widely recognized as the best wide receiver in the country. He put together the best single season for a wide receiver in Big Ten history in 2021, amassing 1,606 receiving yards. That included a historic Rose Bowl performance where he caught 15 passes for a record 347 yards.

In his three games this year, Smith-Njigba has caught five passes for 43 yards.