Linebacker Malik Harrison is one of five former Buckeyes shining in practices at the Senior Bowl down in Mobile, Alabama this week. Joined by KJ Hill, Austin Mack, DaVon Hamilton, and Jonah Jackson, each of them has had impressive moments this week.
Harrison is also one of five former Buckeyes who has had to answer questions about the way this season ended in the playoff loss to Clemson.
“I can’t get it back, it was my last game and being a Buckeye, it definitely hurt,” he said this week. “I watched the film a few days after the game, I’m still hurt but now I’m on to a new chapter.”
Harrison found out about his Senior Bowl invite after the Michigan game. The Senior Bowl touts having the “top players in college football,” so it was a coveted invitation for Harrison and one that was quickly accepted. Excelling against the best seniors in college football is one sure way to improve your draft stock, as former Buckeye receiver Terry McLaurin showed last year when he went from a relative unknown to a third-round draft pick and All-Rookie selection this season.
Harrison measured in at 6-2 5/8 and 246 pounds earlier in the week, which makes him one of the bigger linebackers in the game. He is hoping to run a 4.6 40-yard dash next month at the NFL Combine, but for this week, he has another goal in mind.
“To showcase my cover skills,” he said. “I really haven’t showcased that my last two years at Ohio State, so to showcase that and show that I can cover. There’s a question mark on that. So just being able to win these one-on-one battles with these tight ends and running backs can answer that question.”
How are things going in that area so far? Well, here’s a clip from practice on Thursday.
Jordan Love picked off by Malik Harrison. pic.twitter.com/y4lwqtVkoy
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) January 23, 2020
Harrison started for the Buckeyes the last two seasons, leading the team in tackles as both a junior (81) and senior (76). He has also spent time in a number of different defenses in his four years at Ohio State.
He has gone from the remnants of Chris Ash’s defense, to the span of Greg Schiano’s varied defenses, to Greg Mattison and Jeff Hafley’s design this past season. Harrison played outside linebacker early in his career and then moved inside this past season, and is comfortable wherever a defense might want to put him — and athletic enough to handle it.
“I can play all 3 linebacker positions,” he said. “Mike, Will, and the Sam, so just whatever the team needs that’s what I can play.”
Where might Harrison end up in the 2020 NFL Draft?
According to CBS Sports’ rankings, he is the No. 7 linebacker and the No. 109 player overall, which would put him early in the fourth round.
Harrison will also have the NFL Combine, the Ohio State pro day, and individual workouts to impress coaches and scouts.
Given his size and athleticism, it would not be a surprise if he found himself climbing the rankings over the next two months.