Ohio State Football: Is Marvin Harrison Jr the Best WR in Program History?

Cris Carter. David Boston. Terry Glenn. Ted Ginn Jr. Michael Thomas. Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

All these names are synonymous with greatness at Ohio State. Playmakers, All-Americans, Pro Bowls and even Hall of Famers. Ohio State has a long and storied history of producing incredible athletes. However, at the conclusion of 2023, there will likely be a name that stands above them all: Marvin Harrison Jr.

There’s no denying that his last name created buzz and expectation from the moment he stepped on campus, but his production has exceeded what almost anyone would have expected. In 2022, Harrison Jr had FOX Sports analyst Joel Klatt, delclaring him the “best WR in college football” and perhaps one day the best “on Sundays” after a masterful performance in Happy Valley.  After finishing the year with nearly 1,300 yards receiving and 16 TD as a true-sophomore, Harrison cemented himself as a premier wideout with even loftier expectations for 2023. Conventional wisdom would tell you that opponents would make sure he didn’t have a repeat performance this year, but that hasn’t been the case, and that’s what makes MHJ different.

So far this season, Ohio State has faced five defenses in the top 50 and two in the top 11 (in terms of Yards Per Play). Though just eight games, Harrison already has 896 yards receiving and 8 touchdowns. In the past four games, he has amassed 553 yards (138 YPG) and 5 TD. This is a stretch of dominance that Columbus has never seen. What makes this years performance that much more impressive is the fact that injuries in both the WR and RB room have put an even bigger target on his back for opponents- but it doesn’t seem to matter. Week after week his production only seems to increase, which has even landed him in the Heisman discussion, something that is typically very difficult of wide receivers.

However, the numbers still don’t tell the whole story. Harrison’s versatility truly makes him an embarrassment of riches. He has routinely lined up in the slot and used his supreme route-running abilities to put defenses in a blender, much like his father did before he was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. His ability to do so opens up opportunities all over the field. For an offense that has been finding its legs throughout the year, he is an invaluable weapon to have.

No matter what era of Buckeye football you grew up watching, Marvin Harrison Jr. will stand firm in the all-time great discussion.  His combination of speed, route-running and ball skills is something that unequivocally has him in the position to be the greatest wide receiver to ever lace it up for the Buckeyes.

Featured image via: FOX Sports