The new world of college sports was on display on Thursday in Pataskala, Ohio.
Five Ohio State football players – defensive linemen Haskell Garrett and Zach Harrison, wide receiver Chris Olave, quarterback C.J. Stroud and running back Miyan Williams – received new cars for the 2021 season from Coughlin Chevrolet of Pataskala as part of a partnership with the dealership.
The cars have been leased to the players only through the end of the football season, though players who return to Ohio State for the 2022 season will have the option to extend their partnerships with the dealership.
As part of the partnership, the football players will also participate in toy drives, fundraisers and other community outreach in addition to promoting the dealership.
Ohio State linebacker Teradja Mitchell, who was unable to attend Thursday's event, will also receive a new car as a partner of the dealer.
Garrett and Harrison spoke to Eleven Warriors and other media members who were in attendance after receiving their new cars, and each of them said they were excited to have the opportunity to partner with the dealership not only for the opportunity to benefit from their name, image and likeness in a way that college football players were not allowed to before this summer, but also because of the community outreach events that the dealer had planned.
“It's a blessing,” said Harrison, who chose a Chevy Tahoe for his car. “Obviously we got a car, but I'm really more excited about the partnerships we have going on.”
Ohio State defensive tackle Haskell Garrett said he feels really blessed to be named a captain.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) August 26, 2021
I'm still kind of in shock still, but if that's what my peers see me as, then I want to take that role and keep on leading them the best way I can... I'm really honored and proud. pic.twitter.com/PdUpOEcZu6
Zach Beebe of NIL Management, who set up the partnership with Coughlin Chevrolet for the six Buckeyes, said he thinks it's important for players to make sure they're taking advantage of the right opportunities rather than agreeing to every deal that might come their way, and he believes the partnership with Coughlin Chevrolet is one that will be in the players' best interest.
“They really wanted to make it community-driven,” Beebe said, ”and that's really what we wanted to accomplish.”
It's been a big week for Harrison, Garrett and Olave, who were also named Friday as three of Ohio State's six captains for the 2021 season, and Garrett and Harrison both also talked Thursday about what it meant to them to be selected as captains.
“I'm just really blessed,” Garrett said. “I'm still kind of in shock still, but if that's what my peers see me as, then I want to take that role and keep on leading them the best way I can. ... I'm really honored and proud and happy that my teammates chose me as one of their leaders.”
Harrison said becoming a captain for the 2021 season was one of his goals for this year.
“My teammates viewing me as a leader is something that I take to heart,” Harrison said.
At the top of the page, you can see photos of all five Ohio State players as they received their new cars on Thursday.