Marvin Harrison Jr. may eschew NFL Draft, return to Ohio State

Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) considers passing on draft and playing another season at Ohio State.
Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) considers passing on draft and playing another season at Ohio State.

Ohio State junior wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. is rated by NFLDraftScout.com and others as the best player in the 2024 draft if he enters that NFL lottery.

Turns out that may be a big if.

Harrison says he is considering a return to Columbus for his senior season in search of a Big Ten Championship and a win over Michigan. NFLDraftScout.com moved Harrison from No. 2 to No. 1 among prospects for the NFL Draft, leapfrogging USC quarterback Caleb Williams. He is also our choice as the best Heisman Trophy candidate, although that usually goes to quarterbacks.  

"I'm still undecided," Harrison told reporters Thursday, ahead of Saturday's Heisman Trophy presentation in New York, where he's one of four finalists alongside Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr., LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels and Oregon quarterback Bo Nix. "You guys know, coming into this year, I wanted to beat 'The Team Up North' [Michigan] and win a Big Ten championship. And obviously I didn't do that this year.

"So I think that's a great motive to come back, if that's what I decide to do, because that's something I definitely wanted to do in my Ohio State career. Not being able to have done that yet definitely opens the door for me to come back."

Harrison, one of three 2023 Biletnikoff Award finalists along with LSU's Malik Nabers and Washington's Rome Odunze, had a season good enough to be considered the most consistently outstanding college player of 2023 by NDS and others.

He became the first Buckeyes receiver to register consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons (1,263 in 2022 and 1,211 in 2023) and he had at least one touchdown reception in eight straight games heading into the seventh-ranked Buckeyes' Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic matchup against ninth-ranked Missouri on Dec. 29.

Interestingly, quarterback Kyle McCord, Harrison’s high school teammate  (St. Joseph's Prep outside of Philadelphia) entered the transfer portal Monday after guiding the Buckeyes to a 11-1 record and becoming the seventh quarterback in program history to throw for at least 3,000 yards.

"I wish [McCord] nothing but the best," Harrison said. "It's been great having him for these past three years in college and three years in high school together. He's a guy that if I went to throw some routes with, it would always be him. I'm so proud of him for all that he's been through and how he overcame all the adversity that he's had, dealing with injuries, stuff like that. "Our relationship goes beyond football."

Harrison, son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison Sr., exploded onto the national scene as a freshman during Ohio State's 2022 Rose Bowl Game victory over Utah, when he caught six passes for 71 yards and three touchdowns in a 48-45 victory.

But he remains bothered by two losses to rival Michigan, including this season's 30-24 loss at Ann Arbor, despite his five catches for 118 yards and a touchdown.

"It's tough. It's been real tough because, like I said before, that's kind of the one goal you have [when you come to Ohio State]," Harrison said of winning a Big Ten title. "I'm definitely blessed to be getting all the recognition that I am for these different awards. But I think I'd trade it all for a win against The Team Up North and get to Indy and play in the Big Ten championship.

"So it's been tough dealing with it, but we stick together as a team, as a group. We support each other, lift our heads up and you just got to move on with life, figure out how we can get better for next year and what we can do to get that win."

 

By Frank Cooney, NFLDraftScout.com

Players Mentioned in This Article

Marvin Harrison Jr.

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