Benjamin Russell High School's Clay Harrelson might be the best all-around athlete of the Class of 2003 in-state quarterback prospects. He has a strong arm, excellent quickness and has been a consistent winner on Friday nights.
Harrelson, who is six-foot-one, 175 pounds, was one of the most impressive athletes on the field at the Nike Combine held in April at the University of Alabama practice fields in Tuscaloosa. The quarterback says he is glad he participated in the event that attracted prospects from as far away as Missouri, Indiana and Virginia. "It was a fun camp and we worked on a lot of technique," Harrelson says. "They showed some things we can do to work on getting faster."
He already runs very well. His time of 4.59 in the 40-yard dash was one of the faster ones posted at the Nike Tuscaloosa Combine. JaMarcus Russell of Williamson High School, a star quarterback in the Mobile area since he was a ninth grader, was timed in 4.82 at the same combine.
The Benjamin Russell High standout showed more athleticism by turning in a very impressive time of 4.38 in the shuttle run, which was better than most running backs, receivers and defensive backs at the combine. For example, Hoover's Chad Jackson, who is considered one of the top receiver prospects in the Southeast, was timed at 4.44 in the shuttle.
Harrelson did not do strength tests because he is still recovering from shoulder surgery on his left (non-throwing arm). "I dislocated it twice so we decided to have surgery," he says. "It is going to be fine."
Clay Harrelson is shown during a game last fall in Alexander City.
As a junior playing on the Class 5A state championship team with 2002 Auburn signee Tyrone Martin, Harrelson passed for nearly 2,400 yards last fall. Martin, a linebacker who picked the Tigers over Florida, says that he has no doubt that Harrelson will get a lot of recruiting attention from SEC level colleges, too.
Benjamin Russell High coach Willie Carl Martin has high praise for Harrelson. "He is a great athlete and a real leader," the coach notes. "He was a big reason we won the state championship last season. There is no doubt that a lot of colleges are interested in Clay."
Harrelson says that when it comes time to pick a college, he doesn't have any early favorites, but notes, "I like teams that throw the ball more than run the ball."
He says he plans to hit summer camps at Auburn, Alabama and Florida and maybe some others. Harrelson is also scheduled to be at the Capital City Combine this Saturday in Montgomery. He also plans to work out a lot on his own. "I am going to throw and throw and throw," Harrelson says. "I want to improve my accuracy and get my arm stronger. Harrelson says he plans to put on some pounds and muscle this summer, too, after losing weight following his surgery.
Tiger Ticket Extra: Benjamin Russell High has several college prospects who will be seniors this fall in addition to Harrelson. Eric Brock, a cornerback, is considered one of the top defensive prospects in the state. Defensive end Marquies Gunn is another Wildcat who is getting looks from colleges. BRHS has another potential prospect in wide receiver Johnathan Russell, who missed most of his junior season with a broken bone in his foot.