Ohio State sophomore receiver Marvin Harrison, Jr. caught seven passes for 131 yards and three touchdowns in Saturday’s 49-20 win over Michigan State. It was the third three-touchdown performance in seven career starts for Harrison. He is now the first Buckeye in school history to have three games with three touchdown catches.
As the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Marvin Harrison, Sr., Marvin Harrison, Jr. has only ever known the weight of carrying somebody else’s name. For some, it can be a burden unable to be met. For others, it can be a goal.
Wherever Harrison Jr. fits in that formula, he is well on his way to making a name for himself already in his brief Buckeye career. He now has 12 career touchdown catches, and all 12 of those have come in his last seven games.
His twelfth touchdown may have been his most incredible, which is saying something considering the amount of incredible he has already become known for.
On first and 10 at the Michigan State 19-yard line, midway through the third quarter, quarterback CJ Stroud dropped back and threw it to the left pylon for Harrison. It was supposed to be a back shoulder throw, but it was more of a bank ankle throw. Harrison leaped in the air, reached down to his feet, maneuvered his hands around the defender, and snagged the football like an eagle pulling a bass out of a lake.
That catch even impressed OSU head coach Ryan Day, who gets to see Harrison do things like that every day in practice.
“Yeah, I was surprised. I think maybe if they saw my face on camera, I was like ‘what was that?!’ That was a tremendous catch. And we do see things in practice, but that was special,” Day said.
“But yeah, that was a tremendous catch by Marvin. I was amazed. It was like, he jumped up and caught it by his ankles. I mean, it was just an acrobatic catch by just a tremendously talented player. So, it’s fun to watch him out there.”
Coaches aren’t easily impressed, especially since their job is to see the potential in players and help them realize it. And while it’s impossible to watch Harrison on the field for any length of time and not be impressed, the part about the young sophomore that Day really likes is what nobody else sees.
“Well, I don’t want to embarrass him because he’s sitting right here, but I’m going to anyways,” Day said after the Michigan State game with Harrison sitting at the same dais. “Maybe he won’t like this, but was it Friday or Thursday, and I’m just walking through the facility and he’s out there on the JUGS with Reis Stocksdale, going through, I think the script of practice and the game plan in the facility by himself, just going through it over and over and over again. I think if you ask anybody on our team, they’ll say, “Oh, there’s Marvin again, working by himself.'”
With a name like Marvin Harrison, Jr., there is no hiding. Wherever he goes, expectations and legacy are attached like a Surgeon General’s warning.
“This name may be hazardous to your health.”
But with every pass he catches, Marvin Harrison, Jr. is taking his name into his own hands.
“He’s been blessed with a lot of gifts and talent, but he has unbelievable discipline and skill,” Day said. “And when you take a tremendous amount of talent and mix it with discipline and skill, that’s what you’re seeing right there. And did we see all of that recruiting? We saw some of it, but the rest of it, is a credit to him as a person and his work ethic.”