Ohio State Buckeyes: Harrison wants to show NFL teams all he can do

At the NFL Scouting Combine, Zach Harrison wants NFL teams to know the best is yet to come for him on a football field.

“I’m so excited about the player that I am today and knowing that I have so much to work on and be in this position where I’m at right now, just being at the combine and being one of the top guys in the defensive line class and just knowing that I have so much room to improve and I hope that I get to tap into that,” he said Wednesday morning.

Harrison played 46 games at Ohio State, where he arrived in 2019 as a five-star prospect from just up the road at Olentangy Orange High School in the northern Columbus suburbs.

He was a big recruiting get in the early days of Ryan Day’s tenure as head coach of the Buckeyes, and Harrison saw the field early despite being considered a raw prospect coming out of high school.

He even started two games while playing all 14 as a true freshman, contributing 3.5 sacks and five tackles for loss.

With Chase Young heading to the NFL after that season, Harrison was viewed next in the line of explosive edge rushers for the Buckeyes that started with Joey and Nick Bosa before Young.

It didn’t really work out that way.

Harrison mostly came off the bench in the truncated 2020 season then was a full-time starter the last two years.

He proved to be a solid all-around player, particularly as he adopted more of the dirty work like tying up blockers to make life easier for teammates last season, but the production never matched expectations, at least from a numbers standpoint.

The 6-foot-6, 272-pounder finished his Ohio State career with 13 sacks and 25.5 tackles for loss.

Nonetheless, he said he is confident NFL teams can watch his film and see a player who is capable of helping in multiple ways if they draft him.

“Football players know I’m a ballplayer and I make plays,” he said. “I’m not sure if the casual fan knows that as much because maybe I don’t have Chase Young numbers, but I definitely have impact on the games and all I really care about my teammates and winning games.”

Harrison was a three-time pick for the All-Big Ten second team but said he was most proud of being voted a captain last season by his teammates.

“That’s something I’m going to have on my resume for the rest of my life,” he said. “That was voted on by my peers. I’m really honored to be able to do that. And just all my time on Ohio State, I loved every second of it, the whole journey.”

NFL.com projects Harrison as a potential “average backup” at the next level, and he was No. 60 on a consensus mock draft list compiled by The Athletic in late February.

Strong combine workouts could improve his stock, too.

“I’m trying to get my foot in the door,” he said. “Once you get there, nothing really matters. It’s all about playing football. You’re back to square one. You’ve got to prove yourself every day.

“I feel like teams have got a pretty good grasp of the kind of player I am, and like some of you guys have said, they also know there’s a lot left in the tank. There’s a lot more than I could reach and a lot of teams have told me they’re excited about the potential and the possibility of what they could get on their team in the future.”

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