The football world today descends on Columbus, Ohio, with quarterback potential first overall NFL draft pick C.J. Stroud as the focus of NFL teams, scouts, and media analysts. However, a returning contingent of Buckeyes players, led by Marvin Harrison Jr., will look to put on a show ahead of the 2023 college football season.
Marvin Harrison Jr. Leads Buckeyes 2023 College Football Contingent at Ohio State Pro Day
Speaking to media as Ohio State returns to practice after spring break, Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day confirmed that Harrison would lead a group of talented returnees who will assist with Stroud’s Pro Day performance.
“There’s going to be a few at receiver,” Day told the assembled media. “Pretty sure Marvin [Harrison Jr.], Xavier [Johnson], Jayden Ballard is going to work out, pretty sure those three are going to help with C.J.”
As Day points out, it isn’t the first time that the Buckeyes have used players returning to the Buckeyes for the following college football campaign at Ohio State’s Pro Day. The head coach believes that in addition to helping out their departing teammate, it gives the pass catchers an advantage for once their own time comes.
“Pretty much like we’ve done in the past, I believe Garrett [Wilson] and Chris [Olave], maybe even Jaxon [Smith-Njigba], helped out with Justin a couple of years ago. Maybe even Cade [Stover] might be catching some passes, working out at tight end. It allows them to get a feel for what that’s like.”
For Harrison, that time will come next year. Already considered by some as a slam dunk WR1 and first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Ohio State pass catcher will begin the 2023 CFB campaign comfortably as the best wide receiver in the nation.
Last year, the former four-star high school prospect of the 2021 recruiting class led Ohio State with 1,263 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. Beyond the impressive numbers, however, lies a spectacular WR with outstanding pass-catching prowess.
According to Pro Football Network, Harrison “makes the acrobatic look commonplace and the impossible seem achievable” with his catch-point acrobatics and ‘otherworldly element of body control.'”
While Harrison is already the apple of the college football world’s eye, the Ohio State Pro Day will give Ballard and Johnson the opportunity to display their skills as they battle for playing time next season. The Ohio State WR room is rammed full of talent, something Day alluded to earlier in spring camp.
Johnson, a three-star recruit in the 2018 class, has 16 catches for 163 yards and a touchdown in his Ohio State career. His 12 catches in 2022 were the most in a single season since arriving in Columbus. Meanwhile, he snagged his first career receiving touchdown in the College Football Playoff semifinal defeat to Georgia.
Ballard, a four-star recruit in the same class as Harrison, showcased his big-play ability in limited opportunity last fall. In his second year with the program, he averaged 19.4 yards per catch, taking his eight receptions for 155 yards. The majority of his success came against Toledo, where he snagged his first career touchdown.