"I was really out of shape coming up from Little League," Gunn said. "I really started working harder than ever and I was then starting by my sophomore year. I'll be a three-year starter in the fall."
The Omaha (Neb.) Central standout had a solid sophomore season followed by an outstanding junior season. Those performances helped put his name on the national recruiting map.
"I didn't make All-State or anything like that last year and it was amazing to me because I have film of me punishing some of the seniors who were on those lists. They know who I am."
Harland Gunn, 6-foot-2 1/2 and 300 pounds, was born and raised in Omaha. He began playing football at age 10 and recently learned that he'll have an opportunity to play beyond high school.
"I was getting a lot of letters and stuff like that," he said. "A lot of kids get those, though, so it wasn't a big deal to me. Then one day my coach got a call from Miami in February. They sent me a few handwritten letters over the next few days and then about a week later, they offered me a scholarship."
Considering the Hurricanes were the first program to offer Gunn a scholarship, it meant a lot to him. And of course, it led to more offers.
"It was kinda funny," he said, "because the day after Miami offered me, Nebraska offered. I thought it was kinda odd that they weren't first. I had been to Lincoln for a few games and camps and things like that. They knew me quite well. I never even got a hand-written letter from them until after Miami offered. After that, Kansas State offered, then Kansas, and then Iowa State."
Gunn, who already has a passing test score (18 on ACT) , had watched the Hurricanes a couple times in recent years.
"I watched the Florida State game last year," he said. "With Miami, I always knew they produced great players. Guys like Warren Sapp. I remember watching them and saying that if they ever offer me a scholarship, I'm gonna go there."
After the Hurricanes offered a couple weeks ago and invited the talented lineman to its Junior Day event, held this past Saturday, Gunn decided to pack his bags.
"I went to Miami over the weekend," he said. "I loved it. The city was real nice. It was real tropical with all the palm trees and everything. I had a chance to meet DJ Williams and a lot of other players who are in the NFL now. The players, the coaches, the school, it all had a homey feeling to it. I had been to Nebraska before and I knew Miami has something special. The environment, the intensity, all that. Those kids are all fighting for a national championship and they all wanna play in the NFL. The competition's great and that's something that will really motivate you. I really felt at home when I was there."
It didn't take long for Gunn to end his recruitment. He committed to the Hurricanes.
"It's over," he said. "I know some people may wonder about Nebraska since I'm from here but I'm a Cane. It's the simple fact that they came at me first. They saw the potential before anyone else. I'll only take one visit and that's to Miami, probably a weekend when they're playing."
Gunn, who also throws the shot and discus during track season for Central High, has been playing on both sides of the ball for the last three seasons but he projects as an offensive lineman at Miami.
"I'll be an O-Lineman in college," he said. "Coach Cristobal is recruiting me so it's good that he'll be my O-Line coach. He's real genuine and truthful about everything. I'm looking forward to working with him as my position coach."
Gunn will walk into a deep, yet unproven (heading into 06) group of players at that position at Miami. He was asked what will separate him.
"My explosion," he said, "is what stands out. I have a good get off. I'm a guy who plays with both power and technique. A lot of high school players just push people around but when you get to college, it's all about a combination of both. The technique guys are the ones playing. I use both pretty well, I think."
Gunn wants people to understand that his decision is final. There won't be any last minute changes.
"I know it's early but my mind has been made up," he said. "I always said if Miami offers me, I'm going there. They did and that's where I'm going. The entire environment there was great and I felt like I was at home. I'm going to help them compete for some national championships once I get there. This is a great opportunity."
Gunn Discusses Commitment
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