Marvin Harrison Jr. Excited to Begin NFL Career But Still Wishes He Had “One More Shot” at Beating Michigan, Winning Championship at Ohio State

By Dan Hope on April 24, 2024 at 3:22 pm
Marvin Harrison Jr.

Marvin Harrison Jr. isn’t worrying about where he’ll be selected on the eve of the NFL draft.

The former Ohio State wide receiver is expected to be one of the first players off the board and will very likely become the highest-drafted receiver in Ohio State history. Most mock drafts project Harrison will be the first non-quarterback selected, likely as either the fourth or fifth overall pick.

In the days leading up to the draft, some doubt has been cast on whether Harrison will be the first receiver drafted as several reports have emerged that some NFL teams view LSU’s Malik Nabers as the draft’s top pass-catcher. Harrison says he hasn’t paid any attention to the speculation, though, keeping his focus on being ready to perform when he gets to the league.

“At some point, it doesn't matter,” Harrison said Wednesday after participating in a clinic with Special Olympics athletes in Detroit, where the 2024 NFL draft is being held. “Kind of like when you’re a five-star going into college, it doesn't really matter how highly you were rated. Once you get there, you gotta go out there and perform. So it doesn't really matter where I go.”

Harrison believes he should be the first wide receiver drafted, but he says he’ll be unbothered if a team decides to draft Nabers or any other receiver before him.

“I mean, yeah, I think that but if that doesn't happen, I'm not going to be super upset about it,” Harrison said when asked if he’s the best receiver in the draft. “Really, I just want to go to a good situation. I mean, if I’m the fourth receiver off the board, then so be it. But I’m not really worried about it too much, who’s the first receiver to go. Once you get there, it doesn't really matter where you went.”

Harrison has kept a low profile for most of the draft process, choosing not to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine or Ohio State’s pro day. While some speculated that Harrison skipped those events because he already had a guaranteed landing spot, Harrison said the decision was simply driven by his desire to focus on continuing to develop as a football player rather than training for pre-draft workouts.

“Just talking to my dad (Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Marvin Harrison), he thought that’s what was best,” Harrison Jr. said. “Preparing for the NFL season instead of for the combine or the pro day, stuff like that. Getting some rest after the season, getting your body right, and then training to play football.”

The opportunity to attend the NFL draft in person, though, was one Harrison felt he couldn’t pass up.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Harrison said. “You only get to walk across the stage once, shake the commissioner’s hand, so I’m gonna take that opportunity.”

Harrison says he isn’t nervous for Thursday night, only excited.

“I'm not nervous at all. I'm super excited for tomorrow,” Harrison said. “Trying to go in there with no expectations, you never know what can happen, and just enjoy the day.”

While Harrison entered the NFL draft in January, he stayed in Columbus throughout the spring to continue training with Brian Hartline and Ohio State’s strength and conditioning staff. He felt there was no better place to train than with the coaches he had trained with for the past three years, and he was able to work on different things with them than he did during his Buckeye career since his pre-draft training was focused solely on individual development.

“The things I got to do are very specific to me,” Harrison said. “Training for the past three years was kind of specific to the whole team. But recently, the last couple months, I got to train what I thought was most needed for me, so that was really good.”

Even though he’s a projected top-five draft pick, Harrison said it was a hard decision to leave Ohio State before his senior season. Nearly five months removed from losing to Michigan in his final game as a Buckeye, Harrison still wishes he had one more chance to achieve the goals of beating Michigan, winning the Big Ten championship and winning the national championship that he never reached.

“I definitely wish I had one more shot at it. So many guys came back, I was kind of the only one to leave, me and Mike Hall in that (2021 recruiting class),” Harrison said. “I think a lot of things are left unfinished and unsatisfied in college. But just what was best for me at that moment was moving on with my career. But I hope all those guys get to do what I couldn't.”

Harrison says he’s “super grateful” that he gets to continue Ohio State’s tradition of first-round receivers as he closes in on joining Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba as the Buckeyes’ fourth first-rounder at the position in three years. He says all of them have given him advice during the pre-draft process, as have the likes of C.J. Stroud, Paris Johnson Jr., Terry McLaurin and Parris Campbell, among other former Buckeyes.

Being on the same team with so many other talented receivers – and players in general – is one way in which Harrison believes Ohio State prepared him well for the NFL.

“When you’re surrounded by a lot of great receivers like that, you’ve got no choice but to get better,” Harrison said. “Every day in practice, you’ve got to bring your A-game.”

Wherever Harrison ends up next year, he says he’ll be rooting on the Buckeyes from afar. As excited as he is to begin the next chapter of his football career, his time at Ohio State and the relationships he built there remain near and dear to his heart.

“It's been great,” Harrison said of his time as a Buckeye. “I love Columbus. The city, the people, the fans are awesome. I'm definitely going to miss them and I miss my teammates and the coaches already.”

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