No Time Like the Present for Gifted Freshman Zach Harrison

Zach Harrison Ohio State Buckeyes Defensive End

Long before Jonathon Cooper went down for an undisclosed period of time with an undisclosed injury in fall camp, and long before sophomore defensive ends Tyreke Smith and Tyler Friday were determined to be game-time decisions for Saturday’s game, true freshman defensive end Zach Harrison showed enough in his first eight months or so on campus to earn some playing time this year.

“Yeah, Zach will play for sure,” head coach Ryan Day said on Friday, repeating what he has been saying all along.

In high school, Harrison’s unique measurables required double takes and recalibrations.

Listed at 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds as a blue-chip recruit, Harrison was timed in the rarefied air of the high 4.4s. If you watch his high school film, you’ll see a guy with a reach so expansive that his nickname should be The Illuminati.

But stopwatches can only measure time, and highlights only show the good plays.

Neither measures the most important trait — the desire to make it happen.

Zach Harrison came to Ohio State as an incredible athlete with folklorish measurables, but that’s not what is going to get him on the field Saturday.

“The thing that surprised us when he got here is just really how mature he was in his approach,” Day said. “Play tough, practice tough, practice hard, had a very mature approach about him. And so I think his ceiling is through the roof. And now he’s going to get some experience.”

The Zach Harrison Experience Begins Saturday

Harrison was always going to play against Florida Atlantic, but an injury to starting defensive end Jonathon Cooper has gotten him one step closer to the field.

Add in the possible unavailability of sophomore defensive ends Tyreke Smith and Tyler Friday, and Harrison’s potential number of snaps continues to climb.

Fifth-year senior defensive tackle Jashon Cornell will move back to defensive end, which is where he played last year. If Friday and Smith can make it on the field Saturday, perhaps Cornell stays inside.

Less than 20 hours from kickoff and there are still questions waiting for answers.

What is known, however, is that Zach Harrison won’t have to wait long to get his career underway on Saturday.

This Is Where the Game Is Going

Both Tyler Friday and Tyreke Smith have been compared to former Ohio State defensive end Tyquan Lewis. They are similar in stature — around 6-foot-3 and 260 pounds — and they get by with grit, strength, talent, and technique. Every team has similar-looking players, though they may not be similar in terms of talent.

According to Ryan Day, Harrison is the wave of the future on the football field.

“I think the defensive end position is changing every five years,” he said. “And the longer body types, they almost look like big basketball players now and he has that body type and he has the athleticism.”

You’ll get to see that athleticism on Saturday, and Ryan Day can’t wait to see him out on the field.

“He’s ready at the beginning of his career,” he said. “He’s got a huge ceiling; the more he plays the better he’ll get.

4 Responses

  1. ***** UNPOPULAR POST ALERT *****

    Not a fan AT ALL of when the depth chart is being released, or the UN disclosures of injuries resulting in non participation.

  2. With the depth we have at DE, it would be silly to play any of our guys who are questionable as to injury..I just can’t wait to see our new improved defense. Even our two big wins against TSUN and Washington were marred by our weak defense. And the Purdue game was an absolute killer. Go Bucks!

  3. Cooper being out temporarily could be a blessing in disguise as it should open up more early opportunities for Harrison than he otherwise would have gotten…and this could just start his development and make him more of a contributor this year. If a dog is going to bite, he’ll bite as a pup.

  4. Those who und we stand the intricacies of football have indicated that Zach Harrison will develop into one of the best to play at Ohio State, provided he stays healthy. And we certainly hope his dreams are fulfilled as it will make the team we all root for that much better. At the same time, he will benefit from the work ethic he has found to be the case at the University. It will only make him better positioned to reach his goals & objectives. While bringing it, stay well. The Buckeye Nation is blessed to have the opportunity every Fall to see u play the sport u and we all love. Go Bucks.

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