Zach Harrison still sees himself as leader of Ohio State football despite not being captain

Colin Gay
The Columbus Dispatch

Even without the title, Zach Harrison still views himself as a leader of Ohio State football’s defensive line.

The senior defensive end served as one of Ohio State’s captains in 2021, along with defensive tackle Haskell Garrett, wide receiver Chris Olave, offensive tackle Thayer Munford, wide receiver Kamryn Babb and linebacker Teradja Mitchell

Now, heading into the 2022 season, Babb is the only returning captain for Ohio State despite both Harrison and Mitchell returning for another season.

Ohio State defensive line:Giving Larry Johnson a chance to add to coaching legacy

Evan Pryor:Ohio State football running back expected to miss season with knee injury

The redshirt senior wide receiver and the team’s 2022 Block O recipient joins defensive lineman Tyler Friday, linebacker Tommy Eichenberg, quarterback C.J. Stroud, tight end Cade Stover and safety Kourt Williams

Ohio State has not had a captain from a previous team return and not been named a captain since Jordan Hall

The Buckeye running back was named a captain in Urban Meyer’s first season as head coach in 2012, but had limited playing time that season after a knee injury, and was granted a fifth season with a medical redshirt. When Hall returned in 2013, Jack Mewhort, Christian Bryant, C.J. Barnett, Corey Linsley, Kenny Guiton and Corey Brown were Ohio State’s captains. 

But Harrison’s mentality as a leader has not shifted heading into his fourth season with the Buckeyes. 

Aug 5, 2022; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Zach Harrison (9) during practice at Woody Hayes Athletic Center in Columbus, Ohio on August 5, 2022.

“They are not captains (just) because they were voted captains,” Harrison said. “They are captains because they embody leadership and the program. I feel like just because my name wasn’t voted captain, that I won’t have a “C” on my short doesn’t mean I’m not a head of the program. I know that guys are still looking up to me, so I have to maintain that standard regardless of whether I’m a captain or not.” 

Heading into his fourth year with the program, Harrison said he’s seen that mentality from Friday, who will be the defensive line’s captain in his fifth year at Ohio State. 

“Friday’s a guy that the older guys, other leaders got to for advice and go to when they have something on their mind,” Harrison said. “I go to Friday when things aren’t going right. I know that Friday’s going to have my back and I have Friday’s back.

“I expected it from day one that he was going to be one of those guys who put the team on his back and lead us to where he wants us to go.” 

How many returning captains has Ohio State football had? 

In the history of the program, Ohio State has had 16 multi-season captains, starting with Richard T. Ellis in 1891-92. 

Quarterback J.T. Barrett and linebacker Tuf Borland are the only two players in Ohio State history to have been a captain for three seasons. 

  • Richard T. Ellis: 1891-92
  • Archie Griffin: 1974-75
  • Glen Cobb: 1981-82
  • Thomas "Pepper" Johnson: 1984-85
  • Steve Bellisari: 2000-01
  • Joe Cooper: 2000-01
  • James Laurinaitis: 2007-08
  • John Simon: 2011-12
  • J.T. Barrett: 2015-17
  • Tyquan Lewis: 2016-17
  • Billy Price: 2016-17
  • Terry McLaurin: 2017-18
  • Parris Campbell: 2017-18
  • Jordan Fuller: 2018-19
  • Tuf Borland: 2018-20
  • Kamryn Babb: 2021-22

Get more Ohio State football news by listening to our podcasts