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.