Defensive end Zach Harrison sent in his Letter of Intent to Ohio State on Wednesday, officially making him a member of the Buckeyes’ 2019 recruiting class.
Here’s a look at what he could mean for the future of the program.
Weight: 243 lbs
Position: Defensive end
Hometown: Lewis Center, Ohio
247 Composite Rating: 5-star, No. 4 player overall
Position Rank: No. 2 defensive end
When He Committed: December 2018, choosing the Buckeyes over programs his other finalists, Michigan and Penn State.
Projection: This is an absolutely massive commitment for several different reasons. For one, it’s a monumental head-to-head recruiting win for new head coach Ryan Day over Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and Penn State’s James Franklin.
A month ago, Michigan was favored to beat Ohio State, win the Big Ten East, potentially win the Big Ten, go to the College Football Playoff, and also steal the crown jewel of 2019 midwest recruiting right out from under the Buckeyes’ noses.
Now, out of all the promise on that list they have nothing. But the narrative angle is just the beginning.
The combination of size and speed that Harrison has makes it almost impossible to discuss him without falling into over-the-top hyperbole.
He is 6-foot-5, and 243 lbs. That’s basically the same height as Nick Bosa and Chase Young, and about 15-20 lbs lighter. He’s pretty much the size of a premium college-level defensive end already.
Oh, and he’s fast enough to run the 100-meter and 200-meters dashes at the state level.
At a meet this spring, he was timed at 10.82 for 100 meters and 21.55 for 200. Just for comparison’s sake, that is less than half a second slower than the all-time Ohio High School record, set by former Buckeye running back Brandon Saine (10.38) in 2006.
So if the fastest person to ever run the 100-meter dash in Ohio High School track had lined up next to Harrison and run head-to-head, Saine would have beaten him by less than 10 yards.
Feel free to insert your own hyperbole here.
His highlight reel (below) showcases him not only as a dominant pass-rusher, but a downfield receiving threat as well.
Now he has a chance to pair that athleticism with the technique taught by OSU defensive line coach Larry Johnson.
Harrison will play as a freshman. He probably won’t start, but there is absolutely no chance he’s a five-year college player, so the Buckeyes might as will play him in 2019.
He will have the luxury of getting up to speed at his own pace, playing behind Young, Jonathon Cooper, Tyreke Smith, Tyler Friday, and others. But by the end of the year, he should be ready to contribute.
Young will likely leave for the NFL after 2019, and Cooper will as well. Look for Harrison to take one of those starting spots in 2020.
Zach Harrison’s Highlight Reel