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Ohio State football began its spring practice on Tuesday and fans are already panicked. Video from the morning showed star wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. returning punts, which was not what Buckeyes fans had hoped to see.
Harrison, a junior, is set to be one of the top pass-catchers – if not the top pass-catcher — selected in the 2024 NFL Draft. Harrison Jr., the son of a Pro Football Hall of Famer, is an absolute freak.
Not only does Harrison stand 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, he runs a 4.6ish 40-yard dash and has a catch radius that is simply unmatched on the collegiate level. He caught 77 passes for 1,263 yards and 14 touchdowns as a sophomore, and made ridiculous catches all season.
His insane offseason workouts may be an ever greater testament to his athleticism.
All of this goes to say that if Ohio State is to find success in 2023, Harrison needs to be on the field. And to be on the field, he needs to be healthy, which is why the fanbase was infuriated and worried by Monday’s practice.
Harrison was returning punts.
Kickoffs and punts cause more injuries. That is not necessarily new news, but the numbers back it up.
Between the punt and the kickoff, there’s a disproportionate number of concussions occurring on only a couple plays.— Jeff Miller, NFL Executive Vice President overseeing Player Health and Safety in 2022
An examination of NFL injury data found that about 30% of all torn ACLs are on special teams plays, even though those represent about 17% of all plays. Concussions and other lower body injuries also saw an increase on special teams plays.
While the FBS isn’t the NFL, the overarching sentiment remains the same. Injuries are more likely to occur on punts and kickoffs.
Thus, Buckeyes fans don’t want to see Harrison returning punts.
Ryan day better not— Wyatt (@OSUvsCFB) March 7, 2023
Hopefully he is no where near that position come regular season time. Need him healthy all year. tired of losing star players within the first 2 games.— Randy Russell (@itzz_randyy) March 7, 2023
Why are we always risking our top receivers in this role? With all the talent and skill on an OSU roster they can’t find someone specifically meant for this role that isn’t a key player?— SAu (@H3artOfAu) March 7, 2023
Nope nope nope. We saw how much losing him effected the teams success. Keep him at wideout only please!— SWFL_TURTLE_PROJECT (@SwflTurtle) March 7, 2023
Brian Hartline recruits like 50 5⭐️ WRs… get one of them to return kicks and punts not Marv— Ricardo (@BrickyBricardo) March 7, 2023
Ballard doesn’t start and is arguably fasted kid on team. Maybe we should try him back there but that’s just me. Let’s do all we can to keep marv healthy— Bryant Wickham (@bwick7) March 7, 2023
WTF! All the young talented guys on the roster, they put our #1 WR back there smh— Alwayzabuckeye614 (@turbo2point4) March 7, 2023
Thanks. I hate it.— MR (@2007MLR) March 7, 2023
Noooooooooooooooo— Ryan Meeks (@rydog2729) March 7, 2023
Just because Harrison is returning punts on the first day of spring ball does not mean that he will be in that role come August. That said, should he be back to return kicks on Sept. 2, when Ohio State travels to Indiana, hell will be raised in Columbus.