Jayden Harrison Named Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week

Marshall kick returner Jayden Harrison was awarded Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week on Monday.

“It wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for (Jeremy) Springer dialing the return up and the other 10 guys who were blocking for me on the kick return,” said Harrison this afternoon.Harrison received the opening kickoff, taking it back for 99 yards and a touchdown in MU’s 28-13 win at Florida Atlantic on Saturday.

In doing so, Harrison etched his name in the history books as only the third player to return the opening kickoff for a touchdown, following Keith Baxter in 1987 and Keion Davis in 2017.

The touchdown scored by Harrison is tied for the third-longest kick return in program history.

“It’s fun to have coaches expect big plays,” said Harrison. “To not let the team down, to boost them, is a lot for me.”

A native of Antioch, Tennessee, Harrison’s high school career was star-studded.

As a 5-9, 178-pound wide receiver, Harrison brought in 120 catches for 1,864 yards and over 2,000 all-purpose yards during his career in prep football.

He was a 2018 all-region selection, 2017 all-city pick and a 2016 all-city selection.

Harrison showcased the speed he put forth on Saturday back in high school as well, winning a state championship as a junior in the 400-meter relay.

He was a three-star prospect coming out of high school.

“At first, when I caught the ball, I got the go ahead from the off-ball returner, Sheldon Evans,” said Harrison when asked to re-enact the play, “Sheldon Evans took on two defenders to let me get open and then the rest of the unit finished.”

Harrison was a transfer from Vanderbilt following the 2020 season.

In his time with the Commodores, Harrison played in nine contests, returning seven kickoffs for an average of over 20 yards per return.

Within the tough SEC conference, he finished tied for seventh in kickoff returns as a sophomore.

With his transfer to Marshall taking place last year, Harrison is a newcomer to not only Joan C. Edwards Stadium, but the tradition of Marshall football.

He made his first trip to Spring Hill Cemetery this week in preparation for the 51st anniversary 75 game versus the UAB Blazers.

“It’s a moment of remembrance. The 75, that’s who we come out to play for every week,” said Harrison. “We make sure they’re honored and keep them alive to remember those names.”

Harrison, as well as the Herd, will face off against the UAB Blazers in a rematch of last year’s Conference USA championship.

The game will also be a blackout within the stadium in remembrance of the 75 that lost their lives in 1970.

The game can be seen on CBS Sports Network or heard on Marshall’s campus radio station, 88.1 WMUL.