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Broken Records: Marvin Harrison Jr. is going to break these unique Ohio State receiving records in 2023

There are at least a few impressive, slightly quirky records that I expect to fall courtesy of MHJ.

Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

From now until preseason camp starts in August, Land-Grant Holy Land will be writing articles around a different theme every week. This week is all about records, the ones that have been broken, the ones that could be broken, and the ones that will never be broken. You can catch up on all of the Theme Week content here and all of our ”Broken Records” articles here.

Marvin Harrison Jr. is arguably the best and/or most talented wide receiver in college football. Only, I’m not sure that a reasonable, sound argument actually exists. Because we’re talking about a player who many media pundits, draft analysts, scouts, and coaches (among others) have referred to as the best WR prospect in more than a decade.

Harrison Jr.’s name is being mentioned with the likes of Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson, two guys who are not only considered among the best WR in college football history, but football history period! So yeah, the hype is real. As is Route Man Marv’s otherworldly talent.

Which is why it should come as no surprise that MHJ is expected to etch his name into the Ohio State football record books in 2023... Even more so, or in an even more impressive fashion than he already has. He currently finds himself in or near the top-10 of many all-time statistical categories – whether it be single-game, single-season, or career totals – after just 14 games as a starter. And since playing/starting 14 games is the absolute minimum goal this upcoming season (would put OSU in a CFP semifinal), that means Super Marv could theoretically double up on his already impressive stats.

But let’s not put the cart before the horse. I am asking for a healthy season – over a Biletnikoff or Heisman-winning one – first and foremost, and I’ll simply leave it at that. I just want to see MHJ play in every game. Whether that number of games ultimately becomes 12, 13, 14, or hopefully even 15, who knows. But as long as MARVelous (sorry, I’ll cut down on the nicknames) is in the Buckeyes’ lineup a bunch, then I will get to enjoy watching, and he will get plenty of opportunities to push his name further up the all-time list(s).

And speaking of record books and/or all-time lists... How’s that for transitioning to LGHL’s weekly theme!? This week’s theme is, of course, Broken Records, and I chose to write about Harrison Jr. because I think that his 2023 season and his potential place among Ohio State greats could get and/or become quite interesting.

On one hand, MHJ is the clear No. 1 pass-catching option in a dynamic OSU offense potentially being led by his friend and teammate of many years, Kyle McCord. Not only that, but as previously alluded to, he (MHJ) is an absolute freak. This second-generation WR is likely in the discussion for the most naturally talented/gifted/skilled football player – yes, football player – to ever come through Columbus. So he’s got (all of) that going for him, which should lead to or result in a big, productive season.

Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

On the other hand, MHJ will be competing for targets with Emeka Egbuka, Julian Fleming, Xavier Johnson, Cade Stover, and a seemingly infinite number of young pups. The Buckeyes also have a stable of talented running backs, all of which are currently healthy. This may lead to more of a run-pass balance and/or a simplified playbook. And then there’s the Ohio State quarterback situation.

If McCord does win the starting gig, there will be a pre-established relationship and crazy chemistry with MHJ. But McCord is unproven. He may or may not reach the level of a Justin Fields or C.J. Stroud, if he wins the job at all. As far as we know, Devin Brown is breathing down McCord’s neck, and the former has not so much as attempted a pass in a college game.

My point is this: Harrison Jr. will not be the only weapon in the Buckeyes’ offensive arsenal. And while great, he is (always) going to be somewhat dependent upon others to put up numbers. Unless he can start throwing the ball to himself, which I would say is very unlikely. Although, now that I think about it...

Alright, by now you might be asking “What about the damn broken records!?” Fine, fine, I’ll get to that. MHJ has the potential to break several Ohio State receiving records. But if I am playing the prediction or prognostication game, then I will go out on a limb and say that he settles for just one or two records, if he breaks any at all. And that is primarily because I don’t think OSU will move the ball up and down the field the way they have in previous seasons. Fewer passes and fewer big shots will lead to slightly fewer opportunities for MHJ.

So while I think that ‘flashy’ receiving records such as receptions (single-game, single-season, and/or career), yardage, and/or touchdowns are probably safe for the foreseeable future, there are a few semi-obscure ones out there that could be in danger simply due to Route Man’s otherworldly ability. Here are a few of the more intriguing ones:

Average yards per catch — game (min. 5 catches)

David Boston holds the current record of 32.6 yards per catch in a single, voluminous game. He reeled in five for 163 against the Iowa Hawkeyes in 1998, setting a record that has since been flirted with on multiple occasions. Yet here we are 25 years later, in the golden age of chucking the ball all over the field, and Boston’s record still stands.

But I think this record falls in 2023. MHJ already has a 7-for-184 game on his resume, good for 26.2 YPC. And even though I previously predicted fewer passes and fewer big shots, that does not mean I believe Ryan Day and Brian Hartline will refrain from ever throwing the ball downfield. The Buckeyes will take shots, and MHJ will often be the intended target. We’ve seen what this superhuman can do, and we know that he is always capable of breaking a big one.

And I will even take this broken record prediction one step further because my crystal ball is glowing... I predict that MHJ goes for exactly 5/175/3 (TD) against Western Kentucky on Sept. 16. How’s that for calling my shot?

**All predictions subject to be changed or deleted from the internet at any time

Consecutive games with 100+ yards receiving

Cris Carter and Jaxon Smith-Njigba each achieved a five-game streak of 100+ yards receiving, almost exactly 25 years apart. Garrett Wilson had separate streaks of three and four games, and Harrison Jr.’s teammate Emeka Egbuka has the longest career streak of any receiver on the current roster with three, accomplished in September of last year. MHJ went back-to-back twice in 2022, but I could see him (easily) sailing past five consecutive games in 2023.

It might seem like I am contradicting myself at this point, due to the fact(s) that I hinted at a watered-down Ohio State offense, but watered-down does not mean 18 passes and 48 rushing attempts per game. The Buckeyes are not embracing the wishbone anytime soon, so Route Man Marv will be featured no matter what.

And if McCord becomes the starting QB and plays well, then I think his favorite target since high school will benefit from heavy, heavy volume, especially early. OSU’s first six games could be blowouts and/or shootouts with WKU, Notre Dame, and Maryland on the slate, and that’s where I see the Buckeyes’ top receiver going on a wildly productive run. Harrison Jr. might be asked to carry the receiving load while McCord – or even Brown for that matter – get their feet wet, so do not be surprised if/when he goes 6-for-6 (100-yard games) to begin the upcoming season.

If McCord starts at QB for the Buckeyes, expect a heavy dose of MHJ
Photo by Ben Jackson/Getty Images

Most 100-yard receiving games (bonus round, admittedly not obscure)

You got me, this one is pretty ‘standard’ as far as records go. But if MHJ does break the consecutive 100-yard receiving games record, then he will make a run at multiple others by default. So I am adding them to the list.

Boston holds the record for both 100-yard receiving games in a season and 100-yard receiving games in a career, with nine and 14 respectively. Harrison Jr. sits at 7 and 7 (one season sample size). If the latter essentially replicates his 2022 production, then he is going to own these records as well. I believe that approaching or achieving 10+ 100-yard receiving games is well within MHJ’s grasp, but again, he will be somewhat reliant upon others to (help) make it happen.

Those are just a few of the unique Ohio State receiving records that I could see the high-flyin’, sideline-catchin’, body-manipulatin’, Louis cleat-wearin’ superstar breaking or possibly even decimating in 2023. Hell, maybe he re-writes the whole record book. Because he is certainly capable. Fans will just have to wait and see if the Buckeyes keep rolling along on offense, with a new QB (and Marvin Harrison Jr.) leading the way.