Zach Harrison will participate in his first official practice as an Ohio State football player on Wednesday morning. That’s when the Buckeyes will kick off their spring football season.
But even before he steps on that field for the first time, Harrison is already a big name among most Buckeye fans.
He was the center of one of the most-watched OSU recruitments of the last decade. For most of the recruiting cycle, Harrison was not only the highest-ranked player to come out of Ohio since Ted Ginn in 2004, he was also the center of a battle between the Buckeyes and Michigan.
When he stood up in front of the student body at Olentangy Orange High School and announced that he would attend OSU on Early Signing Day in December, it set off a wild celebration.
Less than three weeks later, he was enrolled at Ohio State. And although he was just 14 miles away from that high school, everything seemed very different.
“At first was it like, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’ the first couple days,” Harrison said. “The first real workout it was like, ‘Whoa.’ But now you adjust a little bit. It’s still hard but you’re more used to it.”
Now about two months later, Harrison is about to start a new chapter on the practice field.
He graduated from Olentangy Orange early to give himself a head start on his college career.
Missing out on half of your senior year of high school is a big sacrifice, but an indication of just how much he wants to accomplish at Ohio State.
Getting those extra 15 practices should help prepare Harrison and the rest of the early enrollees for summer camp.
It’s also a chance to start figuring out the off-field responsibilities of a college student as well.
“Managing my free time. Actually studying for classes now because I have a lot now,” Harrison said. “Taking time to do the important things like studying and going to sleep early, that’s a big thing.”
Harrison will have to fight through a depth chart crowded with talented players at defensive end to get on the field this fall, and said he doesn’t have any specific expectations of just when and how often that will really happen in 2019.
“I hope to get on the field. I hope to play. But I’m just trying to come in and work, put my head down and grind.”
But longer-term, there is no question what his goals are.
“When it’s all said and done I want to leave a legacy here. I want people to be like, ‘Oh, Zach Harrison was one of the greatest to come through Ohio State,'” he said.
“That’s going to mean a lot more to me because coming from home, I’ll be able to take my kids here and grow up in the community where they know my name.”