By Jimmy Longo
In front of a crowd of friends and family, teammates and fellow signees, Cleveland Heights High School and future Ohio State wide receiver Jaylen Harris signed his letter of intent Wednesday afternoon in the school’s auditorium, marking his name officially into the coveted 2017 Ohio State recruiting class, ranked fourth by Scout’s team rankings.
Ranked as the 20th-best wide receiver in the country and 137th overall prospect, the big-bodied 6-5, 210-pound Harris is a player the Buckeyes coveted due to his size and skill-set, liking the odds of probability that Harris can become a consistent threat that Ohio State constantly desires and really lacked last year following the departure of Michael Thomas to the NFL and will need to replace with the early departure of Noah Brown.
For Harris, National Signing Day and the ceremony surrounded by the Cleveland Heights community and beyond was the culmination of something he’d worked so long for, a resonation of completing a boyhood dream, and setting an example for those to come.
“It’s just a blessing. With the community, just having the opportunity to have somebody to look up to who came from the same area they’re coming out," Harris said. "Just being able to set the example and knowing that … just showing them that no matter where they’re at in school, as long as you stay on top of your schoolwork and work hard that you can make it out.”
Harris’ high school coach Mac Stephens was elated, overjoyed for the outcome of his young pupil.
“It’s always been about changing lives and Jaylen is an example of being able to touch a young man’s life and seeing him go on and do bigger and better things in life," Stpehens said. "So, I’m excited to see what the future holds for him. Academically he’s a great young man and he stays out of trouble, and everyone knows athletically he’s a freak on the football field.”
Harris makes up a third of a trio of wide receivers brought in by Urban Meyer in this year’s class, as he will be joined by fellow four star Trevon Grimes (6-4, 205, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) and recently-flipped Elijah Gardner, a three star from Kemp, Texas, listed at 6-4, 185. Four-star athlete Brendon White, from nearby Olentangy Liberty, is working with the receivers as an early enrollee as well.
Ohio State’s 2016 season was marked at times by what seemed like an inability to throw deep passes down the field. With Harris, Grimes and Gardner now in the fold, new quarterbacks coach Ryan Day, J.T Barrett and quarterbacks of the Buckeye future now have a lethal plethora of big and physical deep threats to develop for the foreseeable future.
In wearing the scarlet and gray, catching passes and now working to make their mark in Buckeye lore, Harris is chomping at the bit to improve and get to Columbus with Grimes and Gardner and get going with the rest of his teammates.
“Just going in, just having this opportunity to play with a group of great guys, like you said Trevon and Elijah, we just have a great class," he said. "We just have to go in and create that brotherly bond, and make big things happen.”
If you enjoyed this story, you will love Buckeye Sports Bulletin, the newspaper “For The Buckeye Fan Who Needs To Know More” since 1981. For four free trial issues of Buckeye Sports Bulletin with no obligation, click here.