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Chris Olave: Terry McLaurin 'like a big brother to me' at Ohio State

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Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave poses for a portrait during the NFL Football Scouting Combine, Thursday, March 3, 2022 in Indianapolis. (Todd Rosenberg via AP)

It's well-known by now that Terry McLaurin is a proven leader. His effectiveness on the field has been coupled by his genuine desire to help his teammates whenever possible. It's partly why he's been a captain for the past two seasons.

It should come as no surprise, then, that a former Buckeye wideout is among those who has been influenced by McLaurin. During his round of interviews with the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, projected first-round pick Chris Olave talked about McLaurin's lasting effect on him during their days together at Ohio State, and he still holds the Commanders receiver in high regard.

"He was probably one of my favorite teammates at Ohio State," Olave said.

Olave, a California native who joined Ohio State in 2018, has been a star for the program the last three seasons. He had 2,711 receiving yards in his college career, including 936 in 2021, and he has the most career receiving touchdowns in program history.

Olave blossomed quickly, but he was more of a rotational piece during his freshman season. It was the only year he and McLaurin spent together. McLaurin, who was the third option on Ohio State's offense but still had a career year with 35 receptions for 701 yards and 11 touchdown, took it on himself to be a mentor to Olave as he learned how to be a Division I level receiver.

"[I was] a lower-recruited guy, lower-rated guy," Olave said, "but he took me under his wing right away. He was like a big brother to me."

As McLaurin went on to be selected by Washington in the third round and become an instant impact on the offense, Olave began to see a growth spurt in his production as well. He led the Buckeye in receiving yards two of the next three seasons, and according to Pro Football Focus, he had the most touchdowns scored against man coverage in 2021(5).

Even though Olave is more highly regarded as a prospect than McLaurin was in 2019, there are a few similarities between the two. For starters, they're both fast; McLaurin ran a 4.3 40-yard dash at the Combine, while Olave ran an unofficial time of 4.26 before recording a 4.39 for his official time. Both are considered smooth operators in the passing game with crisp routes, and they can use their speed to create separation.

Ironically enough, NFL.com's Lance Zierlein compared Olave to McLaurin in his draft profile.

"The quiet storm of the Ohio State wide receiver corps, Olave is smooth, steady and makes things happen," Zierlein wrote. "His movements are fluid and easy from snap to the catch and all points between. He's fast but efficient and plays with the bend and foot agility to uncover on all three levels."

Olave and McLaurin have kept in touch over the years, and now that Olave is about to enter the professional ranks, he's leaning on McLaurin to show him the ropes once again.

"I call him every now and then. We text every other day," Olave said. "Terry is a huge role model to me."

Both Ron Rivera and general manager Martin Mayhew have said they're looking at players at multiple positions, but it's possible that Olave could be available once the Commanders use their first-round pick at 11th overall (Some experts believe that exact scenario to play out). Should they decide to take Olave, it would pair McLaurin with another receiver who has a similar skillset and already has chemistry with.

And considering how taking McLaurin has fared for Washington, there's nothing wrong with adding players who model themselves after him.

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