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Football recruiting: Friendship with Kyle McCord helped steer Marvin Harrison Jr. to Ohio State

The Hawks' star receiver, son of Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison, committed to the Buckeyes in part because his high school teammate and close friend already had pledged to Ohio State.

Marvin Harrison Jr. of St. Joseph's Prep making a diving attempt to catch a pass in the Hawks' victory over La Salle earlier this season.
Marvin Harrison Jr. of St. Joseph's Prep making a diving attempt to catch a pass in the Hawks' victory over La Salle earlier this season.Read moreCHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer

Marvin Harrison Jr. sometimes stays after football practice just to run a few more routes and catch a few more passes.

He never has to search for a quarterback to make a few more throws.

“He’s a perfectionist and I’m a perfectionist,” Harrison said of his St. Joseph’s Prep classmate, teammate, and close friend, Kyle McCord.

Harrison and McCord are one of the top wide receiver-quarterback combinations in the country in the class of 2021. The junior stars helped St. Joseph’s Prep win a PIAA Class 6A state title last season. They are a major reason the Hawks are positioned to collect even more hardware this season and next.

But theirs is a pass-catch partnership that’s destined to extend beyond high school.

Both have committed to attend Ohio State on football scholarships.

“I felt like it was a place where I could develop, not just as an athlete but also as a person,” Harrison said of his recent decision to commit to Ohio State.

“Good academics. The coaching is great. Coach Hartline and Coach Day, they will help me develop into the best player I can be and reach my full potential,” he said, referring to wide receivers coach Brian Hartline and head coach Ryan Day.

The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Harrison, son of Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Marvin Harrison, is a four-star recruit, according to both and He has around 25 scholarship offers from programs such as Penn State, LSU, Notre Dame, and Florida.

Harrison said he decided to commit to Ohio State shortly after visiting Baton Rouge, La., the weekend of Oct. 12-13 to watch the LSU-Florida game. The Tigers and Gators were two of his top choices, along with the Buckeyes.

“It felt like the time was right,” Harrison said of his commitment. "They have been at the top of my list and the time was right, right before we get in the playoffs.”

McCord, who committed to Ohio State in April, said Harrison’s mental approach to the game makes him so special.

“He thinks like a quarterback,” McCord said. “Physically he’s a beast, but what separates him is how smart he is.”

St. Joseph’s Prep coach Tim Roken raves about Harrison’s football IQ and feel for the game.

“Some of that comes from home,” Roken said. “His dad has a [Hall of Fame] gold jacket for a reason.”

McCord was thrilled to learn of Harrison’s decision.

“I was so excited I can’t even explain it,” McCord said. “Just knowing we have a bunch of more years together after high school. Not too many kids get to say that about their receiver.”

McCord, who through the Hawks’ first nine games had passed for 2,036 yards and 26 touchdowns, tried not to influence his friend’s decision.

“He knew I wanted him to come to Columbus really bad,” McCord said. “Even before I committed, we talked about going to the same school. I wanted him to go where it was best for him, but I’m extremely excited it’s the same school I’m going to.”

Harrison said the fact that McCord had committed to Ohio State played a part in his decision.

“It definitively had an impact,” said Harrison, who had 30 catches for 610 yards and eight touchdowns in the Prep’s first nine games. “Me and Kyle have a great relationship on and off the field.

“You see a lot of quarterbacks and receivers that have a great relationship on the field. But it’s off the field where me and Kyle separate” from other quarterback-receiver duos.

Harrison said Ohio State was right for him, from the academics to his relationship with the coaches, from the style of play to the caliber of competition. But the thought of spending another four to six years with his quarterback and close friend was pretty appealing, too.

"On the field, we both want to be great,” Harrison said. “That’s what I love about Kyle. He wants to be great at everything he does, and I love to surround myself with people like that.”