Skull Session: Marvin Harrison Jr. is The Best Player in America, Ohio State is Better When TreVeyon Henderson Plays and Honda McCord Needs an Inspection After the Wisconsin Game

By Chase Brown on October 30, 2023 at 5:00 am
Marvin Harrison Jr.
Adam Cairns / USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Skull Session.

Ohio State is 8-0.

Let's have a good VICTORY MONDAY, shall we?

 HARRISON FOR HEISMAN. While Malik Nabers (LSU), Luther Burden III (Missouri) and Rome Odunze (Washington) were named AP midseason All-Americans, Marvin Harrison Jr. has proven himself to be the best wide receiver in America in recent weeks.

And, if I can be so bold – it's not that bold – Harrison has proven himself to be more than the best receiver in college football, but the best player in college football this season.

In October, Ohio State defeated Maryland, Purdue, Penn State and Wisconsin. Each week, Harrison carried Ohio State's offense, collecting at least 100 receiving yards and one touchdown in the matchups. According to ESPN Stats & Info, he is the second Buckeye to record those numbers in four consecutive contests, along with Ohio State legend Cris Carter, who reached five in a row in 1986.

Overall, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound pass-catcher recorded 31 receptions for 533 yards and five touchdowns against the Terrapins, Boilermakers, Nittany Lions and Badgers.

Marvelous Marv, Super Marv, Route Man Marv, Maserati Marv or whatever we have called him in the past, we all can agree: Harrison is one of the best in the business. We should also agree: Harrison belongs in the Heisman Trophy conversation – not as a hundred-to-one shot, but as one of the favorites.

According to consensus lines from The Action Network, Harrison has the sixth-best odds to win the Heisman after nine weeks at +1200. The current leaders are Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (+280), Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (+300), LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels (+400), Oregon quarterback Bo Nix (+600) and Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis (+700).

Of those candidates, Penix will be the hardest for Harrison to dethrone. However, I believe Harrison can surpass McCarthy, Daniels, Nix and Travis in the final four weeks of the regular season. McCarthy and Michigan have not been tested, Daniels and LSU already have two losses, Nix and Oregon have one loss and could be dealt another versus USC or Oregon State, and Travis and Florida State have looked vulnerable.

If Harrison shines in the Buckeyes' matchups with Rutgers, Michigan State and Minnesota – he could break some records vs. the Spartans and their No. 74-ranked pass defense – and then lead Ohio State to a win over Michigan in Ann Arbor, Harrison will receive an invite to the Lincoln Center in New York City.

From there, we could see Harrison become the third non-quarterback to win the award in the last decade (DeVonta Smith in 2020, Derrick Henry in 2015) and the fifth non-quarterback since 2000 (Smith, Henry, Mark Ingram II in 2009 and Reggie Bush in 2005). There's a chance!

So, remember, dear reader: Harrison For Heisman.

 TREVEYON HENDERSON, EVERYONE. When TreVeyon Henderson is 100% healthy and the bell cow of the Ohio State running back room, the Buckeyes' offense looks much different – like, much, much, much different.

That became clear when Henderson returned from a three-game absence to lead Ohio State's backfield vs. Wisconsin.

"It was great having him back. ... He's an explosive player," Marvin Harrison Jr. told NBC's Kathryn Tappen after Ohio State's win. "He has a chance to take the ball for a touchdown any time he touches the ball. When you have that kind of dynamic player in the offense, it changes everything for the defense."

Moments later, in Ohio State's press conference, Harrison was more forward with his remarks about the 5-foot-10, 210-pound ballcarrier.

"He's the most explosive back in the country," he said.

Henderson looked like the most explosive running back in the country on Saturday, collecting 162 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries and another 45 yards on four receptions. His performance involved quickness and shiftiness as a runner, with Henderson recording five carries of 10+ yards, including his touchdown run of 33 yards.

With Henderson as Ohio State's RB1, the Buckeyes ran for 181 yards – their second-best total of the season behind Ohio State's 207 yards against Western Kentucky. Henderson also led the Buckeyes' backfield vs. the Hilltoppers, collecting 88 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.

The 181 number is an extremely positive development for an Ohio State offense that has looked extremely ordinary (outside of Harrison) this season.

Henderson's presence as a "home-run hitter" adds an extra wrinkle for the Buckeyes – one that I look forward to seeing more of in Piscataway, New Jersey, on Saturday and in the weeks that follow.

 INSPECTION REQUIRED. ATTN: America Honda Motor Co., Inc. announces an INSPECTION NOTICE for its 2023 Honda McCord model. The model requires a tuneup after it showed poor performance in Madison, Wisconsin, on Saturday.


Kyle McCord struggled on Saturday. He completed 17 of 26 passes for 226 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and one fumble. The performance was, without a doubt, McCord's worst of 2023.

Yet, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound quarterback led Ohio State to a 14-point win over Wisconsin, which marked the Buckeyes' first double-digit victory in Madison since 2000 and its second since 1990.

Regardless of how Ohio State fans feel about McCord's on-field performance(s), Buckeye Nation should appreciate McCord's determination, resilience and toughness, all of which were shown on Saturday as McCord overcame what Ryan Day described as "bumps and bruises" in his postgame press conference.

"He toughed it out at the end and still hung in there," Day said. "When you have a couple of tough plays, the easy thing to do and what most people do is get gun-shy. He didn't do that. He kept swinging. He kept pushing. You could hear him on the sideline before that drive where TreVeyon ran it to make it a two-score game. He was in that huddle getting after the guys. He showed good leadership there."

Marvin Harrison Jr. offered a similar assessment of McCord's efforts.

"He's resilient. That's what I've seen from him every day since the high school days," Harrison said. "He never gets too down on himself. He has some great guys around him that will pick him up. He's gonna continue to fight."

So, yes, McCord needs a tuneup.

He needs better starts. He needs better ball security. He needs better accuracy. 

He needs to be better.

Perhaps I have extra-thick scarlet-colored glasses, but I believe McCord can and will improve. He's not C.J. Stroud. He's not Justin Fields. And he's not Dwayne Haskins. But with the talent around him, namely Harrison, Emeka Egbuka, TreVeyon Henderson and Cade Stover, he doesn't have to be. He can be Kyle McCord – a quarterback with toughness who makes timely plays in timely moments.

 PLAYERS OF THE GAME. The Sunday after an Ohio State win in 2023, Eleven Warriors will present an offensive and defensive Buckeye with player of the game awards. This week, running back TreVeyon Henderson and defensive tackle Tyleik Williams received our top honors for their performances.

Four hours after we shared our selections, Ohio State revealed its picks: Henderson as the offensive player of the game, Jack Sawyer and Tommy Eichenberg as the defensive players of the game and Cody Simon as the special teams player of the game.

All four players were phenomenal in Ohio State's win over Wisconsin. Henderson's exploits were described above. However, Sawyer, Eichenberg and Simon are in need of some well-deserved attention after their performances.

Sawyer has quietly become one of Ohio State's better run defenders from the defensive end spot, while Eichenberg has continued to be one of the Buckeyes' best defensive weapons in 2023 after an All-American season in 2022. As for Simon, this is, what, the 20th special teams player of the game award for the veteran linebacker? That dude gives it all whenever he is on the field.

Overall, it was a great Saturday for these four Buckeyes.

Congratulations to Henderson, Sawyer, Eichenberg and Simon.

I hope all four continue in excellence.

Ohio State will need them!

 SONG OF THE DAY. "Carmen Ohio" - TBDBITL.

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