Urban Meyer, wide receivers coach Zach Smith, and Ohio State have officially added a new weapon to Zone 6. '17 WR Jaylen Harris of Cleveland Heights (OH) has faxed in his national letter of intent to join the Buckeyes and he will now set his sights on helping the Scarlet and Gray this upcoming season.
Harris wound up receiving 20 offers from programs all across the country. Ultimately for the latest Ohio State signee, he would choose to stay home and become a Buckeye instead of becoming a student-athlete at Alabama, Michigan State, Penn State, or Tennessee — the other top contenders for the lengthy pass-catcher.
For Harris, the opportunity to suit up in The Horseshoe was a dream come true. It also isn't too farfetched for the Cleveland native to believe that he can make an impact for the Buckeyes as a true freshman. Make no mistake, playing right off the jump at a school like Ohio State will forever be a tall task. However, with the well-documented lack of production from wide receivers this past season and the fact that Noah Brown, Curtis Samuel, and Dontre Wilson — Ohio State's three top pass catchers last year — are NFL-bound, the door is certainly open.
As of now, Harris will have to open up eyes quickly when arriving on campus and make a positive impression over a handful of other receivers who are hoping to step up and fill the void. It will certainly be an uphill battle. Perhaps the best case Harris can make in the hope of helping in 2017 is as a red zone threat. Harris stands at a towering 6’5, 210 pounds, and could potentially give J.T. Barrett a nice jump ball weapon when on the door step of the opponents’ end zone.
Whether or not Harris can make noise early is up in the air and is definitely something to watch in the coming months, but the talent is certainly there with the four-star prospect. Harris will join the Buckeyes after being graded as the 184th overall player in the class, the 30th-best at his position, and the fifth highest graded recruit in the state of Ohio, per the 247Sports Composite.
Harris feels that the Buckeye coaching staff is going to help him become the best player he can be:
Harris is exactly the type of wide receiver that Ohio State has been missing. At 6’5 210 pounds, he’s a matchup problem for essentially any cornerback in the country. In high school, Harris regularly utilized his size and proved to be a very physical player both with the ball in his hands and as a blocker. He projects to work as an outside receiver with the Buckeyes, though his blocking ability could be used in the middle of the offense in a similar fashion as Noah Brown or Evan Spencer.
While Harris regularly ran past overmatched cornerbacks in high school, he’ll need to improve his route running at the next level. He was only asked to run a handful of different routes in high school and wasn’t always explosive coming out of his cuts. Still, Harris showed the ability to make plays once he got going and he displayed a similar run after the catch ability as Michael Thomas. Harris does a good job at recognizing defender’s angles with the ball in his hands and he’s not afraid to put his head down to bully ahead for a tough first down.
Harris has a very high ceiling due to his natural size and athletic ability. His route running should improve with better coaching and a full-time commitment to football, as Harris is also an accomplished basketball player. — Ian Hartitz