Morning Constitutional: What to Expect From Zach Harrison in 2019

Zach Harrison Ohio State Football Recruiting Buckeyes

Today’s Topic: What to Expect From Zach Harrison in 2019

Zach Harrison is Ohio State’s highest-ranked signee in the 2019 recruiting class, so it is natural to have high expectations for him right out of the gate.

Harrison was ranked as the nation’s No. 2 strongside defensive end, the No. 12 player overall, and the top player in the state.

And given his measurables, the expectations will be hard to temper.

Harrison is currently listed at 6-foot-5 and 243 pounds and possesses more speed and athleticism than defensive ends are generally permitted to have.

He falls into a line with Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa, and Chase Young, and carries the same expectations as all three of them.

Placing a Bosa-level of expectations on anybody other than a Bosa isn’t fair, however. Even Chase Young fell short of those expectations, though he has begun to live up to his own.

Young was an incredible high school defensive end, while Harrison is an incredible athlete and still growing as a pass rusher.

The good news is that Zach Harrison couldn’t have a better defensive line coach to mold him into the player that he can become.

In fact, that’s what Larry Johnson loves most about his job.

Johnson didn’t coach Joey Bosa as a freshman, but there would have been no holding him back. Nick Bosa didn’t start a game as a freshman, but he played as much as Sam Hubbard, Tyquan Lewis, or Jalyn Holmes. Chase Young, however, was brought along a bit slower.

Sure, early in his freshman season of 2017, Young played as much or more than Bosa, Lewis, Holmes, or Hubbard because the games were blowouts. Johnson didn’t want to put Young in a position that could hurt the team or hurt his development, so when the games got tougher, his minutes diminished.

Young still flashed plenty as a freshman, finishing with 19 tackles, 6.0 tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks.

So when we ask what to expect from Zach Harrison, think more in line with Chase Young than Joey or Nick Bosa.

And then dial it back a little from that as well.

“I want to keep it low key,” Johnson said of his expectations for Harrison in 2019.

“I want to make sure we grow him the right way. That’s the biggest thing. I want to slow it down. We don’t need him to play 90 plays next year. We really don’t. We’re going to find a place for him where he can fit and be comfortable and get a chance to be successful. That’s the biggest thing.”

Zach Harrison is entering a room where both starting defensive ends return in Young and Jonathon Cooper, as do the top three backups Jashon Cornell, Tyreke Smith, and Tyler Friday, and also a redshirt freshman in Javontae Jean-Baptiste.

That’s a lot of talent for a true freshman to wade through, but then Harrison possesses quite a bit of talent himself.

You should expect a lot from Zach Harrison, just maybe not right away.

8 Responses

  1. I expect to see him on the field every game this season. I know that LJ doesn’t like to use freshmen, but this kid’s athleticism is enough that he should be able to at least get some late game minutes with the defense most weeks, and special teams time every week.

  2. Even Nick Bosa had a learning curve, it was sad that we couldn’t see how he would have done this year and how that would of impacted others. Saying that, I do know that Harrison joins a deep and talented group with a gifted coach. 243 and speed is nice, but he will need to add more bulk to compete week in and week out. So spot on, expect a lot, but not right away.

  3. The nice thing is … he has time to develop. Yeah, we’d all like to see him become a Lombardi finalist in game 1, but when he doesn’t, we can enjoy watching Young and Cooper do their thing while Zach hones his skills and gets ready to take the baton from them.

  4. An awful lot is expected of Harrison. Just not on the field on Saturdays. As with everyone else, he is expected to work hard in the weight room, in the class room, and on the practice field. That’s a lot for a college freshman.

    Be ready to do what you are asked to do. The coaches will ask you to do only what they have prepared you to do.

  5. I expect him to play 12 to 15 plays a game once the B1G gets going.

  6. I’d say that it depends upon Harrison himself. If he shows Bosa-like maturity to go along with the talent, then he’ll be in the mix. If he needs more time (and that’s NOT a knock against the young man) then Larry Johnson will give it to him in bite-sized pieces until he’s ready. That’s the best part about this story is there really isn’t anyone in the nation better than Larry Johnson for making sure a kid’s ready.

    1. I trust in Johnson as well. With his incredible speed it would be fun to watch him play some pro-style “edge” after a year or so.

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