The future stars of Ohio State football officially begin their college careers, as standouts from all over the country put pens to their National Letters of Intent.
Zach Harrison is staying home.
It was a long and hard-fought recruitment, but Ryan Day and Larry Johnson have managed to keep the state's top player from heading to Ann Arbor or State College. Questions have lingered for months as the Lewis Center defender simply handled the process differently than most other prospects. But today the 6-foot-5.5 freakish specimen announced that he's siding with the Buckeyes.
The Harrison File
- Class: 2019
- Size: 6-foot-5.5, 243 pounds
- Pos: DE
- School: Olentangy Orange (Lewis Center, Ohio)
- Composite Rating: ★★★★★
- Composite Rank: 1 (SDE)
The magnitude of the Harrison signing can't be understated, and there are a number of reasons why this is such a monstrous win for Day, Johnson, and the program as a whole.
Zach Harrison came into the day with the intention of signing with Ohio State, Penn State, or Michigan. This has been far from the typical local recruitment and at times it appeared the Buckeyes were in serious danger of losing the state's top player much like they did a year ago when Jackson Carman sided with Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers.
: BM MODE
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) December 19, 2018
The Buckeyes started out as the presumptive favorite when Harrison was offered nearly two years ago in January of 2017. With Olentangy Orange being a mere 16 miles north of Ohio Stadium, it was fair to assume the in-state power would have a firm grip on this recruitment. But the Wolverines and Nittany Lions refused to make things easy down the stretch.
On top of landing the state's top player and a five-star talent with off-the-charts upside, the Buckeyes now won't have to deal with Harrison on the opposing sideline. When Carman signed with Clemson many saw that as a bit of a silver lining. That obviously wouldn't have been the case with this one.
|2012||NOAH SPENCE||Harrisburg, PA||No. 5|
|2013||VONN BELL||Rossville, Georgia||No. 26|
|2014||RAEKWON McMILLAN||Hinesville, Georgia||No. 22|
|2015||JUSTIN HILLIARD||Cincinnati, Ohio||No. 35|
|2016||NICK BOSA||Fort Lauderdale, FL||No. 8|
|2017||CHASE YOUNG||Hyattsville, MD||No. 7|
|2018||NICHOLAS PETIT-FRERE||Tampa, Florida||No. 7|
|2019||ZACH HARRISON||Lewis Center, OH||No. 4|
Beyond that, the defensive end spot is a need for the 2019 class, and by adding a talent like Harrison – to go along with four-star Mentor defender Noah Potter – Johnson and the Buckeyes have helped to replenish the depth at the position. Given the utilization of the "Rushmen" package it's always necessary to have plenty of capable pass rushers in the arsenal.
Zach Harrison is the No. 4 overall prospect in the entire country. A historical glimpse back at Ohio State's top-rated signees shows that this is the biggest signing since Terrelle Pryor in 2008 and Ted Ginn Jr. in 2004. Both of whom were rated as the nation's No. 2 overall prospects.
It was a recruitment that included very few interviews and hardly even a peep from Harrison himself. In the age of social media where these kids and young adults are thrust into the spotlight, it's been refreshing to see a five-star prospect handle things in such a fashion. For the Ohio State staff, the end result couldn't be any more satisfying.
Stay tuned as 11W will have plenty more on the Harrison signing and what it means for the Buckeyes moving forward.