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Marvin Harrison Jr.
Columbus Dispatch: 5 Things to know about Harrison Jr.
Marvin Harrison Jr. is a Heisman Trophy finalist with a familiar name.
The Ohio State wide receiver is the only non-quarterback among the four Heisman Trophy finalists. Though he is unlikely to win, it’s an impressive achievement for a wide receiver to be a finalist for college football’s most prestigious award. Ohio State hadn't had a non-quarterback Heisman finalist since running back Eddie George won in 1995.
Here are five things to know about Harrison:
1. His father is Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison Sr.
The elder Harrison played for the Indianapolis Colts and was Peyton Manning’s favorite target for 11 seasons. Harrison was a first-round pick in 1998. Manning arrived two years later.
Together, they set NFL records as a quarterback-wide receiver combination in passing yards (12,766), touchdowns (114), completions (953) and touchdown completions 20 yards or longer (52).
Harrison was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.
“He's taught me pretty much everything I know, more so the mentality of the game and how to approach the game," Marvin Jr. said. "I try to work as hard as he did. He obviously set the bar very high, and I have big shoes to fill, but I'm trying to get there."
2. Marvin Harrison Jr. and quarterback Kyle McCord were high school teammates
Harrison began his prep career in Philadelphia at La Salle College High School before transferring to St. Joseph’s Prep, in part to play with Kyle McCord, who was already a budding star. In fact, McCord was a higher-rated rated recruit. He was a five-star prospect. Harrison was considered a four-star recruit.
McCord committed to sign with Ohio State before Harrison, who said that McCord was a factor in his decision.
“It definitely had a little impact going into (my) college (choice),” Harrison said, “not just as a quarterback but as a friend first.”
Harrison became a starter last year and this year was the favorite target for McCord, who became Ohio State’s starter after C.J. Stroud went to the NFL.
Despite leading Ohio State to an 11-1 record this season, McCord decided to enter the NCAA transfer portal for his final college season.
3. The 2022 Rose Bowl started his stardom
Harrison impressed coaches and teammates with his work ethic and talent as soon as he arrived on campus as a freshman. But Ohio State had a loaded wide receiver unit featuring first-round NFL draft picks Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, both now stars in the pros.
Harrison saw limited action his freshman year until Ohio State’s Rose Bowl game against Utah. The Rose Bowl was not a College Football Playoff game, so Olave and Wilson chose not to play to protect against injury.
That gave Harrison his chance, and he capitalized. He caught three touchdown passes from Stroud in Ohio State’s 48-45 comeback victory. As impressive as that was, it was overshadowed by the performance of fellow receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who set a record for any bowl with 347 receiving yards in 15 catches.
Smith-Njigba and Harrison were expected to be the top receiving duo in the country in 2022, but Smith-Njigba’s season was ruined by a hamstring injury. Harrison was Ohio State’s top receiver with 77 catches for 1,263 yards and 14 touchdowns.
4. Marvin Harrison Jr.’s unique gifts?
Harrison is listed at 6 feet 4 but has unusual quickness and agility for a receiver that size. Former Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said that while Harrison has the upper torso of a tall player, his legs are the size of a smaller receiver, giving him rare shiftiness.
OSU receiver Emeka Egbuka said Harrison has another atypical attribute.
“He's kind of like a bionic person,” Egbuka said. “In these (weight) lifts, he gets tired. But give him 30 minutes afterward, and he's good to go.
“That would be amazing if I could do that – just run routes 24/7 and not have my legs be tired. To be able to go full speed and not having your hamstrings being burnt out from a lift, it definitely is a benefit.”
Marvin Harrison Jr.’s brother is a budding star
Harrison has a younger brother, Jett, who’s an eighth grader and could be another star receiver.
“He’s great,” Harrison Jr. said. “He’s definitely more talented than I ever was at that age. He started early with the routes and everything from my dad, so I’m super excited to see how he comes along. It's going to be very scary to see how he progresses.”
Harrison said Jett is already interested in Ohio State, and his brother hopes he follows him to Columbus.
“Of course. He sees me here, and he naturally wants to follow in my footsteps,” he said
2023 Season Review
Week 13: If Harrison doesn't win the Heisman Trophy despite being the most consistently outstanding player in the country, Ohio State's 30-24 loss to Michigan will be cited as a reason. That is despite another prolific game by Harrison, who was targeted nine times, caught five passes for 118 yards (23.6 yards per catch) and a touchdown. He has caught at least one TD in eight consecutive games and for the season has 67 catches for 1,211 yards and 14 scores. On Tuesday (Nov. 28) he was named a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award (to the best college receiver in the nation). The last Ohio State receiver to win that award was Terry Glenn, in 1995.
Week 12: In a 37-3 win over Minnesota, Harrison was targeted six times, caught three for 30 yards and a touchdown, yet still managed to look outstanding.
Week 11: Harrison bounced back from a pedestrian performance in Week 10 with seven catches for 149 yards and another two touchdown receptions as Ohio State stayed unbeaten by whacking Michigan State, 38-3. His two TD grabs give him 12 on the season. Harrison did have one drop. — JH
Week 10: A productive-unproductive day for Harrison in Ohio State's convincing 35-16 road win over Rutgers. Harrison caught two more TD passes to bring his season total to eight. But he caught only four passes total for 25 yards. Both TD catches (of four and two yards, respectively) did come in the fourth quarter to help the Buckeyes put the game away. — JH
Week 9: Harrison's marvin-lous 2023 continued in Madison, WI, as the star wideout turned six catches into 123 yards (20.5 avg) in a 24-10 win over Wisconsin. He also caught another two TDs, bringing his eight-game total to eight scores, including a 19-yard fade route where Harrison outbattled a Badgers DB for the ball while getting one foot down in bounds. He had a long of 35 yards. — JH
Week 8: Harrison's penchant for coming up huge in big games will only cement his status as a top 5 pick in next spring's NFL draft. He greabbed 11 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown in a 20-12 win over visiting Penn State. On a day littered with big Harrison plays, a couple stand out from a clutch fourth-quarter performance. First, in the shadow of Ohio State's goal posts, he took a shallow crosser on 2nd-and-13 and worked his way for a first down, getting the Buckeyes offense out of bad field position. The second play was his touchdown catch to give Ohio State a two-possession lead. Again, he caught a pass underneath, on 3rd-and-11, and weaved his way into the end zone for an 18-yard score, pretty much sealing the game. — JH
Week 7: Another ho-hum day for Harrison, who caught six more passes for 105 yards and a touchdown, his fifth of the year. Ohio State stayed unbeaten by blasting host Purdue, 41-7. More so than other games, Harrison operated out of the slot (11 snaps). The only blemish on his day were the three drops he had — one of which negated a TD when the wideout caught the ball but failed his feet down in the end zone. Harrison came into the contest with just two drops for the entire season.
Week 6: Fighting a gimpy ankle from the Week 4 injury, Harrison returned to action in spectacular fashion as Ohio State remained unbeaten, rolling previously undefeated Maryland, 37-17. The nation's top receiver caught eight passes for 163 yards (20.4 average) and one TD. Highlight catches included a 56-yard bomb from QB Kyle McCord and, in maybe the throw-and-catch of the season, a spectacular over-the-shoulder grab where Harrison managed to drag his feet in bounds. The 35-yard play converted a 2nd-and-33, with Maryland trailing by only three points early in the fourth quarter, and set up Cade Stover's 44-yard touchdown catch on the next play. Harrison capped off his marvelous day later in the fourth with a 17-yard TD strike from McCord. — JH
Week 5: DNP — bye week
Week 4: Harrison Jr. had a quiet day statistically — three receptions on seven targets for 32 yards — against Notre Dame, but Buckeyes fans are just thankful the star wideout wasn't lost for the season when his foot was rolled up upon when blocking on the edge. Harrison Jr. eventually returned to the game as Ohio State went on to win in dramatic fashion, 17-14, to stay unbeaten.
Week 3: Harrison Jr. caught a 75-yard touchdown on the fist play after Western Kentucky pulled within four points as the Buckeys prevailed 63-10. Harrison, targeted seven times, caught five for 126 yards and that one score. He also had one rushing attempt for seven yards. -- FC
Week 2: Harrison returned from the Week 1 injury scare and posted his most dominate performance of the young season in Ohio State's comfortable 35-7 win over Youngstown State. The All-American receiver caught seven balls for 160 yards (22.9 yards per catch) and two touchdowns, one of which came on the game's third play when Harrison got behind the Youngstown defense for 71-yard scoring bomb. — JH
Week 1: In Ohio State's 23-3 win over Indiana, Harrison Jr. was targeted six times and caught only two passes for 18 yards, not counting a 24-yard touchdown that was nullified by an illegal touching penalty. Harrison briefly exited the game in the second quarter with an apparent injury to his left arm or shoulder. Harrison — a presumed top 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft — landed on his outstretched left arm. He was reported to be "fine" after the game. He was in on 29 plays, 26 wide and three in the slot. Indiana coach Tom Allen: "He's probably the best we've gone against in my coaching career." — FC
Based on his performance in 2022, Marvin Harrison Jr. is the best player in College Football. He has prototypical size standing at in the 6-3 to 6-4 range (Ohio State does have a tendency to inflate these numbers!), combined with 4.4 speed (estimated from GPS data), high-end hands, and outstanding route running alone make him an almost perfect prospect. If he can continue to repeat his 2022 numbers or even exceed them he'll be viewed as a player superior to even Ja'Marr Chase.
Super productive receiver who was the best receiver in the nation in 2022 despite receiving constant press coverage and often seeing double teams. An elite athlete with super soft hands and an innate knack for coming down with acrobatic catches. Supreme technician, in basic footwork, route running, and hand usage.
Played on the outside in 2022, but will be moved to the big slot in 2023 — showcasing his versatility. He will break a tackle or two; extremely competitive and will give effort as a downfield blocker.
Ideal bloodline: Dad is in the NFL Hall of Fame after a 13-year career (all with the Indianapolis Colts) in which he caught 1,102 passes for 14,580 yards and 128 touchdowns.
Elite athletic skills -- Made Bruce Feldman's 'Freaks List' at number 2. He wrote: "He benched 380 pounds this offseason, doing 22 reps at 225. He clocked a blistering 3.94 pro shuttle time and did 10-9 on the broad jump. He also topped out at 23 mph on the GPS.
Combines elite speed with his size, and he accelerates off the line much better than most big receivers. Elite in contested-catch situations, using his frame effectively to make plays facing the quarterback. He also shows a knack for high-pointing the ball, consistently outmuscling defensive backs.
Tracks the ball well downfield and consistently runs under long throws.His long arms allow him to play even bigger than his size, and he has a frame that can carry a little more weight. Has surprising quickness off the line. Has the rare size and quickness to get off NFL press.
Picky, picky, picky. Physically, Harrison profiles as a guy who should have success facing the quarterback, but he struggles to gear down and make the necessary sharp cuts to create separation underneath.
His cuts are aren't as sharp as you would expect given his elite athletics.
Harrison Jr. from St. Joseph's Prep High School was rated a 4-star recruit by ESPN and also handed a 4-star grade by 247 Sports. After high school, Harrison Jr. opted to join Ohio State after being heavily recruited. In 2021 as a freshman Harrison Jr. saw action in 12 games with no starts for the Buckeyes as he made 11 receptions for just 139 yards for an average of 12.6 yards per reception, with 3 TDs.
As a sophomore in 2022 he won the starting role as the Z receiver and broke out playing in 12 games. He made 72 catches for 1157 yards for an average of 16.1 yards per catch, with 12 TDs, and an elite QB rating when targeted of 135.5. His reception and yardage totals are each fourth all-time at Ohio State for a single season and his TD total is tied for second with David Boston (1997), trailing only Terry Glenn’s 17 in 1995.
HISTORY — from college bio
Has played in all 26 games in 2021-22 ... Has started 14 consecutive games and has caught a pass in 14 consecutive games ... Hauled in at least five passes in 12 games, including each of the final eight games of the 2022 season … Only Buckeye receiver ever to catch three TD passes in the same game on three separate occasions.
2022: First-team all-Big Ten honors … Named a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award … A unanimous All-American in 2022 and Ohio State’s first ever unanimous All-American receiver … First-team All-Big Ten honors … Named a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award … Selected as the Big Ten Conference’s Richter-Howard Wide Receiver of the Year as a sophomore in 2022 after catching 77 passes for 1,263 yards and 14 touchdowns … His reception and yardage totals are each fourth all-time at Ohio State for a single season and his TD total is tied for second with David Boston (1997), trailing only Terry Glenn’s 17 in 1995 … Accumulated 33 receptions for 538 yards and six TDs in five games vs. ranked opponents (vs. No. 11 Utah, No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 13 Penn State, No. 3 Michigan and No. 1 Georgia) … Career-highs of 10 receptions and 185 receiving yards in road win over then No. 13 Penn State, with all 10 catches resulting in first downs … Pulled in seven passes against then No. 3 Michigan for 120 yards and a TD … Against No. 1 Georgia in the CFP semifinals, had five receptions for 106 yards and two TDs … Accumulated 33 receptions for 538 yards and six TDs in five games vs. ranked opponents … Ranked second nationally in 2022 with 52 catches of 10-or-more yards and ranked sixth with six 40-or-more yard receptions … Ranked in the Top 10 of the national leaders in touchdown catches (4th), receiving yards (6th) and yards per game (8th at 97.2)
2021: Lettered in 2021 as a true freshman after playing in all 13 games, including a start in the Rose Bowl vs. Utah … Caught 11 passes as a true freshman for 139 yards and three touchdowns. Caught six passes for 71 yards and Rose Bowl record-tying three touchdowns. One of his three TD grabs was a game-tying, five-yard score late in the fourth quarter … OSU Scholar-Athlete.
High school: A 4-star prospect out of St. Josephs Prep School in Philadelphia and the No. 91 player in the nation by 247Sports.com … Top-ranked wide receiver in the state of Pennsylvania … Finished his career with 2,625 receiving yards and 37 touchdowns, both of which were Philadelphia Catholic League records … Caught 144 career passes … Teamed with fellow 2021 Ohio State signee Kyle McCord to help St. Joseph’s win three-straight Pennsylvania 6A state championships … Had eight receptions for 156 yards and two touchdowns in a state title game win over Central York … Is the son of Dawne and Marvin Harrison Sr … Father is in the NFL Hall of Fame after a 13-year career (all with the Indianapolis Colts) in which he caught 1,102 passes for 14,580 yards and 128 touchdowns
Son of Dawne and Marvin Harrison Sr … Father is in the NFL Hall of Fame after a 13-year career (all with the Indianapolis Colts) in which he caught 1,102 passes for 14,580 yards and 128 touchdowns … Marvin is an OSU Scholar-Athlete and an Academic all-Big Ten honoree who is majoring in finance … Social media: Twitter: @MarvHarrisonJr / Instagram: @marvinharrisonjr
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