The 6-3, 205-pound rising senior for Sequoyah High School is hitting the summer camp circuit--hard, very hard--to show college coaches what he can do as a dropback passer.
Good size and a strong arm make Harper a prospect to watch for the 2004 signee class.
He helped his team to an 8-3 record as a junior in his first year as the varsity starting quarterback, but didn't get many opportunities to show his strong right arm because his team uses a run-oriented Delaware Wing-T offense.
"We throw it about 12 or 15 times a game so it is tough for a dropback passer," he says.
Harper was in Auburn on Friday and Saturday along with his Sequoyah High teammates for a seven-on-seven team passing camp. He then headed for another football camp, traveling to Winston-Salem, N.C., for a session on the campus of Wake Forest.
"It was good to go to the camp at Auburn," he says. "I got to show the coaches a little of what I could do, but for the most part the rain ruined it." Harper and others at the session had to contend with heavy rains and very wet playing fields at the AU camp.
The quarterback plans to return to Auburn later this summer for another camp, one of many on his schedule. In addition to sessions at Auburn and Wake Forest, he has already been to Middle Tennessee State and has plenty of others lined up. "I also have camps scheduled at Clemson, Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Duke, South Carolina, Duke, Georgia and Auburn. I have also been invited to the Elite 11 (passing camp) in Las Vegas and I am going to go there."
The colleges where he has camped or plans to camp are all recruiting him along with Florida and "a few others," says Harper, who sports a 3.4 grade point average. "Right now I am pretty much even on all of them," he says.
In addition to attending camps, he is working out in the weight room trying to get bigger. He wants to add 10 pounds to his six-foot-three-inch frame to get to 215 by the start of his senior season. He bench presses 255 pounds and is looking to get stronger, too. However, he has plenty of strength to zip the football.
"I have a strong arm and good footwork," he says when asked to assess his best attributes as a quarterback. "I can throw the ball far, I can throw it hard. I can throw all the balls."
As a junior, he threw 14 touchdown passes and just three interceptions, completing 64 percent of his passes for more than 1,000 yards for an 8-3 team. While those are not huge numbers for a quarterback in pass-oriented systems, they are strong ones for someone running the Wing-T offense.
Tiger Ticket Extra: The quarterback's father, Jeff Harper, played college football at Georgia and was a teammate of Auburn offensive coordinator Hugh Nall on UGA's 1980 national championship team. Jeff Harper played guard and tackle from 1977-80.