Malik Harrison Says NFL Career Has Been “Everything I Dreamed,” Thinks Ohio State Will Blow Out Notre Dame in Season Opener

Malik Harrison Says NFL Career Has Been “Everything I Dreamed,” Thinks Ohio State Will Blow Out Notre Dame in Season Opener

An NFL career hasn’t changed Malik Harrison much.

The Baltimore Raven and former Buckeye linebacker still attends the same summer events he always has in his native Columbus during the offseason, and he was particularly busy around the city this past weekend. Harrison hosted a youth football camp at Hamilton Township High School on Saturday, went to Braxton Miller’s camp on Ohio State’s campus the following day and then appeared at the Kingdom League at Ohio Dominican University shortly thereafter.

Harrison’s been turning up for the summer basketball tournament ever since the event’s inception, and that didn’t change ahead of his third year in the NFL.

“Every time I come out here around this time it’s always the same thing. I’ve been coming to the Kingdom League since it first started,” Harrison told Eleven Warriors Sunday. “I just love this event because it just brings everyone in to have fun and watch basketball.

“It’s a lot of players (I’m cool with), I might even play tonight. I might even suit up for the last game,” Harrison said in jest. “But there’s a lot of players in there that I used to play with or I was looking up at growing up; Jared Sullinger, (Javon) Bess, there’s a lot of people in there. There’s a lot of guys that I did play with and I always come back and just show up.”

As for the NFL, Harrison said he’s lived up to all his expectations. Harrison was selected with the 98th overall pick in the third round of the 2020 draft and started six of his 16 appearances as a rookie with the Ravens. Harrison finished the year with 44 total tackles and a tackle for loss, and even managed to start five games in his second season despite missing time after being hit by a stray bullet last November.

“It’s everything I dreamed of, getting drafted in the third round, just making it. It still hasn’t hit me that I’m in the NFL,” Harrison said. “Even me just putting on the jersey, I’ll be like, ‘Wow, this is what I always dreamed of.’ But other than that, it’s everything I expected. I love it. I just gotta stay there.”

Harrison isn’t the only Buckeye on the Ravens’ roster. John Harbaugh and company also selected record-setting Ohio State running back JK Dobbins one round before Harrison in the 2020 NFL draft. Dobbins missed all of last season with an ACL tear suffered in the preseason, but had a standout rookie campaign that saw him lead all running backs in the NFL with an average of six yards per carry.

It’s no surprise the former Buckeyes have leaned on each other amid the ups and downs of their transition to the next level.

“It’s crazy. So the day of the draft, he got drafted first and then I got drafted in the third round. Soon as I got drafted I called him and we were excited,” Harrison said. “This year he’s coming back from his injury, he’s going strong. I can’t wait for him to come back.”

The Ravens selected both JK Dobbins and Malik Harrison in the first three rounds of the 2020 NFL draft. (Photo: Katie Stratman – USA TODAY Sports)

They also have undrafted former Buckeye wideout Binjimen Victor on the Ravens’ roster to reminisce on old times with, but Harrison said he still stays connected with the Ohio State program regardless.

Harrison may not know every player on the current roster, but he makes sure to offer his guidance when he meets them at events like Miller’s this past weekend.

“Every year it’s new guys coming in, so whoever the new person is or whatever, I still got guys that I played with when I was at Ohio State, so I still stay in contact with them and talk to them,” Harrison said. “The new guys, I always just introduce myself and tell them, ‘If you need any pointers or anything that’s going on in the city,’ because I’m from here, so if they need anything, just hit me up and I’ ll take care of it.”

From what Harrison has seen of the 2022 Buckeye roster, he thinks Ohio State has a good chance to win the national championship come January. That’s not exactly a novel thought, though, as Harrison expects his alma mater to contend for the title every season.

“You know me, every year I’m gonna think they’re gonna win it all,” Harrison said. “Ohio State, they got a strong team, just gotta get things clicking. Once they get things clicking, hopefully we get a championship this year. I thought we were gonna get one two years ago, so I was rooting them on the whole way. People on (the Ravens) were trying to bet with me; I’m like, ‘I’m going with my guys.’”

In order for the Buckeyes to win it all, they’ll likely have to get past their season-opening challenge on Sept. 3 – a primetime matchup with Marcus Freeman and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. But Harrison expects Ohio State to have little trouble with that obstacle.

“Oh yeah, we’re gonna blow them out. That’s my prediction, we’re gonna blow them out,” Harrison said. “It’s Notre Dame, it’s gonna be a great game. Hopefully I can come to a game because I haven’t been to a game in the longest. Last time I’ve been around the team is the spring game, so hopefully I get the chance to go to the game.

“That first game is gonna be a good one, but we’re gonna win it. We’re gonna win.”

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