College football: Harrison Jr. to participate in Ohio State Pro Day

COLUMBUS — Ohio State has gotten into a habit of giving the NFL a sneak peek at its future by letting current players participate in pro days even if they aren’t eligible for the NFL Draft.

The Buckeyes let Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave do so during Justin Fields’ pro day in 2021, then in 2022 let C.J. Stroud do so for Olave and Wilson.

Now Marvin Harrison Jr. will join that list as one of Stroud’s receivers for the 2023 pro day Wednesday.

“It allows them the opportunity to get a feel for what that’s like,” head coach Ryan Day said. “Sometimes it can be kind of awkward to be out there running routes and catching. Just relaxing and getting a feel for it so when they do it next year it won’t be the first time.”

Harrison is coming off a breakout sophomore season where he turned 77 catches into 1,263 yards and 14 touchdowns. He was also a Fred Biletnikoff Award finalist and the first wide receiver to earn unanimous first-team All-America status in school history.

He, Jayden Ballard, former walk-on Xavier Johnson and tight end Cade Stover will join Jaxon Smith-Njigba as Stroud’s receivers as they put on a show for NFL coaches and scouts.

Harrison isn’t eligible for the NFL Draft until next spring but is already viewed as one of the better prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft. While the pro day is more about him helping Stroud in his case to be the No. 1 overall pick this year, teams will surely have their eye on Harrison as well.

What else did Day say?

• On transfer Vic Cutler: “I think he would tell you that practicing at Ohio State is something that he’s still adjusting to.” Impressed with how Carson Hinzman has competed.

• Transfers Jahad Carter and Davidson Igbonisun are “fitting in well” so far: “Anytime you’re in that type of situation you have to work your way into it. You’re seen before you’re heard and they’re doing that right now.”

• Igbonisun, Denzel Burke, Jordan Hancock and Jyaire Brown — who was the Silver Bullet of the Day for the second practice — have all “gotten their hands on balls” through these first three practices.

• Brian Hartline will call plays in Saturday’s scrimmage.

• Evaluating a quarterback’s playmaking ability in controlled settings: “You really don’t know until you get in a game. … You want to identify the things they do well and emphasize those.”

• On the defensive tackle depth and what he needs to see: “You need them to flash. You need them to make plays and get off of blocks. Consistency through the whole spring.”

• “We’re trying to find as many ways as we can to have winner-loser situations.”

• He looks at who can make the routine plays from the quarterbacks and not turn the ball over, especially in a scrimmage: “The more game-like situations we get the more we can get a feel for that.” The plan is to get as many young players reps as possible. He’s looking for an “extraordinary trait” and maximizing that trait.

• Joe Royer and Gee Scott Jr. will need to prove they can play either tight end position, as Cade Stover can. That means running routes and being able to block defensive ends. Also says they’ve discussed “a couple ideas” on how to replace Mitch Rossi’s fullback role.