COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — One man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity, and that opportunity is being seized by Ohio State sophomore receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.
With top receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba sidelined by injury, Harrison has stepped into the void. The 6-4 “physical freak” has showcased his skills by latching on to four passes for 137 yards (a ridiculous 34.3 average per catch) and two touchdowns against Arkansas State, and had another that could have been ruled a touchdown called incomplete.
Harrison Jr is a nightmare matchup for just about any defender, but he isn’t coasting on his physical gifts.
“Just seeing my dad, he’s always preached work ethic to me,” Harrison Jr said. “I try to play to my strengths. Obviously I have size that most receivers around the country don’t have. But I definitely try to focus on my skills and technique. I’m just really ready to make something happen this season.”
Ohio State receivers coach Brian Hartline knows what he has in Harrison, and echoes the work ethic mantra that has gotten the young man to this point.
“Regardless of height, weight, size, all of that, it was more about his mental makeup, how he talked and how he worked,” Hartline said. “That’s what made me fall in love with Marv, and then Marv has just taken it to another level.”
He hinted at being able to reach that level in last year’s Rose Bowl, where he caught six passes for 71 yards and three touchdowns against Utah.
Harrison Jr has the size to fend off press coverage, the length to go up and over defenders and the route running discipline to leave defensive backs spinning. The son of NFL Hall of Fame receiver Marvin Harrison, the younger knows that while he is current ascending the mountain, the work cannot stop.
“Staying in the present is absolutely one of the hardest battles that I have mentally right now,” said Harrison Jr. “I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, and I’m trying to take everything day-by-day, practice-by-practice, one game at a time. But, I’ll admit, I do dream about bigger things. I want to keep working, and I know I have a lot to improve on.”