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Ohio State: Zach Harrison hype train ready to get rolling for Buckeyes

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Ohio State signee Zach Harrison has the potential to be a star for the Buckeyes. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Question Of The Day

Ohio State: Zach Harrison hype train ready to get rolling for Buckeyes

The speculation, debate and conversations about Ohio State never end, and Lettermen Row is always ready to dive into the discussions. All week long, senior writer Austin Ward will field topics on Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes submitted by readers and break down anything that’s on the minds of the Best Damn Fans in the Land. Have a question that needs to be tackled, like the one today about Zach Harrison? Send it in right here — and check back daily for the answers.

The freakish athleticism, the impressive frame and the seemingly limitless upside were always clear, and the recruiting rankings reflected that. But it might have been tempting until now for Ohio State not to want to make too big of a deal about just how important Zach Harrison could be for the program when it looked like he might be heading to Penn State — or worse, rival Michigan.

But if the buzz around Harrison might have felt strangely muted over the last few months considering he’s just up the road from the Buckeyes, that’s all going to change now. With the five-star defensive end giving the Buckeyes his signature on Wednesday and making his plans official, the hype train is about to pick up a huge amount of steam for the Olentangy Orange product.

“Yeah, I mean, when you look at somebody who runs a 10.8-second 100-meter dash at his size and the potential that he has, all you think of is the Bosa [brothers] and some of the top defensive ends in all of America,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “It isn’t all going to happen at once, but the ceiling for Zach is really, really high.”

Larry Johnson-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football

Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson has plenty to work with now that Zach Harrison is in the fold for the Buckeyes. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Start with the obvious: Legendary defensive line coach Larry Johnson could build a pass-rushing monster with a 6-foot-5, 243-pounder blessed with track-star speed. There probably isn’t anybody in the country better at unleashing potential in prospects like Harrison, as Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa, Sam Hubbard, Tyquan Lewis, Chase Young and many others can attest.

That will be the primary focus, of course. But the versatility Harrison showed in high school also already allows for even bigger dreams down the road — even if they probably aren’t going to happen.

Line up Harrison at tight end? Why not, based on the ball skills he showed when lining up as a two-way player in high school. Give him a shot as a blocker in the jumbo package or maybe hand him the football to bulldoze for a score? Sure, Ryan Day has shown he can mix it up in short-yardage situations. Unveil an offensive Rushmen package with him at quarterback? OK, probably not.

With all the talent the Buckeyes have assembled, it’s probably not ever going to be necessary to give Harrison snaps on the other side of the ball. But the fact that he even could is a major part of the celebration for landing him — and keeping him away from the Nittany Lions and Wolverines.

Harrison is a special talent, and it’s now safe for Ohio State to stop worrying about letting him slip away and start thinking about what all he can do once he arrives on campus.

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Austin Ward

Austin Ward is Lettermen Row's senior writer covering Ohio State football and basketball. The award-winning journalist has covered the Buckeyes since 2012, spending five of those seasons working for ESPN after previous stints at the Casper Star-Tribune and Knoxville News Sentinel.