While recruits — especially quarterbacks — taking themselves off the market before the end of their junior year is not uncommon, this is far from a normal recruiting cycle.
Recruiting has been heavily restricted for a full year now since the dawn of the coronavirus pandemic. That cut short the typical spring visit season and wiped out most of the usual evaluation opportunities (camps and visits) in the summer.
Restrictions could be loosened this spring or summer, but that is no sure thing.
Whatever happens, Harrison is set on his decision to head southeast to Huntington, W. Va., once he has one more go-round with the Elks.
“I came into the decision with the mindset I would just know it’s the right time,” he said. “I’ll make the choice. And I just knew it when I stepped on campus and everything that this was placed for me. So it’s definitely exciting. Now I can just really focus on my team and just continuing to get better.”
Rivals.com ranks Harrison the No. 13 prospect in Ohio and the No. 15 pro-style quarterback in the country.
The four-star prospect, who has been on major-college radar since eighth grade, threw for 1,723 yards and 18 touchdowns last season for Centerville and has already broken Ryan Hawk’s school record for passing yards in a career.
He is part of a star-studded group of local prospects in the class of 2022 that also includes Rivals four-stars Jyaire Brown, Alex Afari and Tegra Tshabola of Lakota West, Aamil Wagner and Elijah Brown of Wayne and Derrick Shepard Jr. of Alter.
Alter standout C.J. Hicks is a five-star and the No. 1 prospect in the state according to Rivals.
Harrison is one of several senior-to-be quarterbacks to watch in the area, a list that also includes Springfield’s Te’Sean Smoot, Kamaury Cleveland of West Carrollton, Sam Feldman of Springboro and Josh Mayfield of Troy.
Marshall is under new management after hiring Charles Huff as head coach in January. He arrived in Huntington after two years at Alabama.
Huff retained offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tim Cramsey, who was recruiting Harrison prior to the coaching change.
“I like Coach Cramsey a lot,” Harrison said. “He’s a really good coach. He fits my coaching style or fits how I like to be coached so I think it will be a perfect fit.”
Harrison was not able to take an official visit to Marshall but stayed in touch with the program via phone and video conferencing.
He was able to take a self-guided tour of the campus with his parents and fell in love.
“I think it was definitely an easy choice,” he said. “Great fan base, great academics, great campus, great facilities great football program, great coaches I think all of it just kind of played out perfectly and how, how I wanted and I’d be lucky to be a part of that.”
He had 10 offers but declined to name any other finalists.
“I was keeping an open mind to all the schools,” Harrison said. “I was taking self-guided visits, and just putting myself in the position, ‘Do I want to be here for four years? Can I see myself here for four years?’ And when I went on my self-guided tour to Marshall I just like I knew this was the place.”
The Thundering Herd have three quarterbacks on the current roster, including freshman Zach Switzer of Badin.
Next year they will add Cam Fancher, a three-star 247Sports Composite prospect from the 2021 class who signed with the Herd in December.
Harrison said he expects a quarterback-friendly shotgun offense to be in place when he arrives, something he is familiar with after three years running coach Brent Ullery’s attack at Centerville.
The Elks went 4-4 last season, and Harrison is looking to go out on a high note.
“I think we’ve got a really good squad,” he said. “We’ve been lucky enough to be able to lift with the team and start building chemistry now, so I think the most important thing right now is just keep getting better and keep getting better, but it will come. The football season will come so we’ve got to focus on right now on getting stronger and faster.”