Ohio State football drama: Will Heisman finalist Marvin Harrison return?

Columbus, Ohio - Will Marvin Harrison Jr. declare for the NFL draft or return to the Ohio State football?

Marvin Harrison Jr. is rumored to be enticed by an NFL first-round NIL-caliber deal, potentially leading to a return to Ohio State.
Marvin Harrison Jr. is rumored to be enticed by an NFL first-round NIL-caliber deal, potentially leading to a return to Ohio State.  © Michael Reaves / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

The opening of the college football transfer portal has brought a storm of headlines, with Ohio State's TreVeyon Henderson and Marvin Harrison Jr. making waves.

Rumors suggest that both players are enticed by NFL first-round NIL-caliber deals, potentially leading to their return to Ohio State.

In the evolving landscape of college athletics driven by Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) opportunities, the decision of Harrison, a Heisman Trophy and Biletnikoff Award finalist, could hinge on the potential financial incentives.

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While no NIL deal in college football has previously come close to the lucrative figures associated with a top-five NFL draft pick (roughly $25 million per Sports Illustrated's Andrew Brandt), Harrison might be on the brink of setting a new precedent.

Harrison, the record-breaking receiver for Ohio State, entered the season with an intense focus on his goals of triumphing over Michigan and clinching the Big Ten Championship, milestones he has yet to achieve throughout his college career.

"Coming into this year, I wanted to beat ‘The Team Up North’ and win a Big Ten Championship. And, obviously, I did not do that this year. I think it’s a great motive to come back if that’s what I decide to do," Harrison told reporters Thursday. "That’s something I definitely want to do in my Ohio State career, and not being done yet definitely opens the door for me to come back. Undecided. Just taking it day by day at this time."

Will Ohio State really dish out a first-round NIL deal?

Will Ohio State really dish out nearly $25 million for Marvin Harrison Jr. to return to the Buckeyes' football program?
Will Ohio State really dish out nearly $25 million for Marvin Harrison Jr. to return to the Buckeyes' football program?  © EZRA SHAW / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

Let's be realistic, no university has an NIL deal so extraordinary that they can afford to shell out millions for a single player.

Take, for example, former Florida Gator commit Jaden Rashada.

The Arizona State quarterback caused a stir when he decommitted from the school's football program after his supposed groundbreaking $13 million NIL deal fell apart.

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While Rashada never publicly explained his decision, he appeared strongly committed to Florida's football program when he reportedly secured the highest NIL recruitment deal to date.

However, the idea of a university offering a staggering $25 million seems far-fetched and hard to believe. Reigning Heisman winner Caleb Williams is thought to earn around $2.5 million to $3 million in college football. Would Ohio State really increase their NIL offer by nearly $20 million?

The prospect of a groundbreaking NIL deal adds an intriguing twist to his decision-making process, making his return to Ohio State or a leap into the NFL draft a story worth following.

Cover photo: Michael Reaves / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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