COLUMBUS — The time for Ohio State freshman Zach Harrison to be an elite pass rusher is coming, and it’s coming quickly.
For the second time this season, Harrison found himself with a sack of a Big Ten quarterback. Technically, this time he had to settle for splitting a sack with Chase Young, the best defensive player in the country.
The sack against Indiana was late in the game as a majority of the second-stringers were on the field. But this one, a rush move and sack of Brian Lewerke in a three-point game against a ranked opponent? That’s a big step for a 5-star recruit who is navigating his way through his first season.
“Y’all are going to see more Zach Harrison,” Young said.
More of Zach Harrison could possibly mean more of the Rushmen package. It could mean an increase of meaningful snaps for the talented young Harrison. It could also mean he has arrived and is playing at a veteran clip just six games into his college career.
Harrison broke the seal against Indiana. He may have broken the dam against Michigan State. Either way, the sack of Lewerke showed that when Young likely leaves for the NFL after this season, Ohio State’s tradition of dominant pass-rushers is in good hands with Zach Harrison — along with Tyreke Smith, Tyler Friday and Javontae Jean-Baptiste, among others.
“He’s a freak,” Young said. “He’s strong, big, fast. I knew it was only a matter of time.”
Harrison finally proved his 5-star potential against Michigan State, and he is only going to continue growing into his role.
But he isn’t the Ohio State player who stood out. Here’s who Lettermen Row thinks helped their cause in the convincing Big Ten, primetime win over the Spartans.
DB Josh Proctor
Whenever Josh Proctor has been in a game this season, he has asserted himself as a dangerous member of the Ohio State secondary. Whether it was the interception against Florida Atlantic or dropped ones against Indiana, he has shown a knack for the ball. Go ahead and add hard hitter under his name on the scouting report. In the third quarter, Proctor leveled Michigan State tight end Trenton Gillison, announcing his presence on the field. He also proved he’s capable of coming on the field in big moments and getting the job done. Proctor is slowly trending toward more playing time.
WR Garrett Wilson
Each week, it seems like the role and playing time increase for Garrett Wilson in the Ohio State offense. The latest example, first-quarter playing time and two catches in a primetime game against a nationally ranked defense, prove Wilson is ready to make a huge splash and contribute numbers for the offense. Quarterback Justin Fields is developing a good connection with Wilson, and the freshman has proven through six games he can make improbable catches over defenders and near the sideline. Expect Wilson to become a bigger option for Ohio State moving forward.
CB Cameron Brown
The bad news for Ohio State was that Damon Arnette left after halftime and didn’t return for the rest of the game. The good news? Cameron Brown held down the back end in Arnette’s absence, and he did it well. The sophomore played admirably in a game that Spartans quarterback Brian Lewerke played well. Brown finished the night with two tackles, a tackle for loss and a pass break up. Oh, and a good bit of trust that he can be a reliable option behind Arnette, Okudah and Shaun Wade.
TE Luke Farrell
Luke Farrell finally found the end zone this season when he made an easy catch over the middle, then fought off three defenders to score from 21 yards out and widen the second-quarter Ohio State lead to 10. That catch marks the second straight game in which Farrell has a reception — he had a nice catch against Nebraska near the end of the first half in Lincoln last week. Coaches and players knew what Farrell can do in the blocking department before the last two games. Now, everyone is finding out how good he can be as a pass catcher.