Expectations can either light your path, or light it on fire.

For Ohio State sophomore wide receiver Marvin Harrison, Jr., expectations have been attached to him since the day he was born.

As the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Marvin Harrison, Sr., there would have been much easier paths to choose than hopeful NFL wide receiver. But here we are, and here Marvin Harrison Jr. is, and the Buckeyes wouldn’t have it any other way.

Harrison arrived with expectations last season as a true freshman, but the depth chart ahead of him limited the number of snaps he could see in a game. (Playing behind Garrett Wilson can do that do a guy.) He ultimately finished with the fourth-highest number of snaps among receivers last year, catching 11 passes for 139 yards and three touchdowns.

Of course, he saved his best for last in the Rose Bowl when he was thrust into a much larger role due to the absence of Wilson. Against Utah, Harrison caught six passes for 71 yards and three touchdowns.

Even though his name was known before then, it was his performance that drew the most attention on New Year’s Day.

The irony is that the more successful Junior becomes and the more his numbers resemble his father’s, the more he shows just how unique he is.

“Marv’s his own person, but he certainly had a great example of obviously a Hall of Fame dad and what he did, but that’s not easy to do is to follow in someone’s footsteps who’s a Hall of Famer like that,” Buckeye head coach Ryan Day said.

“I think it’s easy for us just to look at it and say, ‘Well, you know his dad played in the NFL and then became a Hall of Famer.’ There’s a lot that comes with that. A lot of expectations, especially when you share the same name as your dad. I think Marvin has done a great job of kind of blazing his own way.”

Harrison blazed his way through the Utah secondary last season and there’s no reason to think he won’t be doing the same to every defense he faces this coming season. Nobody is calling for three touchdowns per game, but the odds that he never has another three-touchdown game might be pretty low.

Part of the reason for that is because this is just the beginning for Harrison. Making it to Ohio State and making an impact in the Rose Bowl is big, which means he has already begun living up to expectations. But nobody expects more than Harrison himself, and he possesses the means to reach his goals.

“I think the expectations have always been there for him and it’s not easy, but his work ethic, his approach, his attitude, who he is as a person, his parents raised a really great young man, and he’s going to do his own thing,” Day said. “But he’s blessed with a tremendous amount of talent, but really skill and discipline is off the chart too.”

In other words, Marvin Harrison, Jr. may be known for his name but he will be a success in football because of his game.

“That’s hard to find because some guys are just blessed with great talent, but they have a harder time finding that skill and that discipline,” Day said. “He has it both. He’s created great skill. And he’s created great discipline. So he’s had a really good offseason and I’m proud of him.”

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