Sam Webb: I understand you received a Michigan offer recently. How and when exactly did you get word?
Mark Harrell: "It came through maybe a week or two weeks ago. They sent me an email and told me to go ahead and give them a call. I gave them a call and they extended the offer."
Sam Webb: Do you remember which coach you talked to?
Mark Harrell: "Darrell Funk."
Sam Webb: Had you prior to that point had any interest in Michigan or did they sort of initiate the whole thing?
Mark Harrell: "What had happened was my neighbor knows the O-line coach at Michigan, Darrell Funk. She told him about me and he had me send in the tape and I guess they liked it enough to offer. So we started getting in touch and then they made the offer maybe two weeks after talking with each other."
Sam Webb: Before we get off into recruiting too deep, let's talk about your high school season. How did it go for your team and how did it go for you individually?
Mark Harrell: "Last year, we were 14-1. We lost in the semifinals. It was a very successful year. One of the best…our football team traditionally does pretty well, but that was probably one of the better ones in the last five years even though we didn't make it to the state championship. It was definitely a good season."
Sam Webb: What about you individually, do you remember what your stats were?
Mark Harrell: "Since I was blocking all the time, I didn't really have any stats. In our offense the tight end just blocks because we run a wing-T. I know that no one has heard of that in 100 years (laughter). A lot like the Georgia Tech offense."
Sam Webb: Give me a scouting report on Mark Harrell's game.
Mark Harrell: "Coming quick off the ball, good drive blocking skills, fast feet, got good hand placement, good speed."
Sam Webb: Are you underrated as a pass catcher since you play in a wing-T?
Mark Harrell: "Exactly, yeah (laughter). I caught one pass all year. One thrown to me and one caught."
Sam Webb: Undeniable proof that if a team gives you the opportunity than you can deliver as a pass catcher too…
Mark Harrell: "Yeah, exactly, no doubt (laughter)."
Sam Webb: What is your current height, weight, and 40 time?
Mark Harrell: "I'm about 6'5". That's what I get measured off as, a 6'5" at the US Army Combine. I'm about 265 pounds right now."
Sam Webb: Have you been timed in the 40 yet?
Mark Harrell: "About 5.1 or 5.2."
Sam Webb: So you have the Michigan offer… do you recall off the top of your head what other schools have offered you scholarships so far?
Sam Webb: Are you looking for a particular style of offense? For instance, is the Georgia Tech offense the kind of offense that you want to play in again or are you looking for an offense that will take advantage of your ability as a receiver?
Mark Harrell: "It doesn't matter to me. I am for the most part getting recruited as a tackle. I think (at) Michigan is the only one that I might be a blocking tight end for. They need a guy like that. Other than that, mostly tackle."
Sam Webb: Do you really have a preference? Would you rather play tackle or do you like the way Michigan is recruiting you?
Mark Harrell: "No it doesn't matter to me as long as they gave me the scholarship I'll play wherever they put me. If it doesn't work out, if the tight end thing at Michigan does not work out at Michigan, I'll probably play tackle, which I do not mind."
Sam Webb: Let us speak in recruiting in general… when you get ready to sit down and make your decision what are going to be the most significant factors in that choice?
Mark Harrell: "Mainly academics. I want a good academic school that has something there to support me in the long run. Also what kind of people I'm going to be surrounding myself with. If I like the coaches, if I like the players on the team and school tradition and environment is another factor. Basically those three things but mostly academics."
Sam Webb: Have you given any thought to a timeline for how you would like to have this play out?
Mark Harrell: "I would like to take a top five leading into summer. At least five schools that I feel comfort with. I'm not going to try and wait that long. I'll probably make a final decision and commit right around the beginning of my senior year."
Sam Webb: As far as visits leading up to that, I imagine that you would have to get out to some of these schools if you haven't already. Do you have any visit plans set up?
Mark Harrell: "I'll probably be going up to Michigan sometime in the spring. I haven't really set those dates yet with the coaches there. These are the ones for sure…I'm going to Clemson next week. I'm going to Auburn on the 26th (March), Carolina 19th (March) and then UVA on the 2nd. Then Michigan over my spring break, which is in late April."
Sam Webb: You just talked about a number of southern schools. One potential factor we haven't talked about is distance from home. Is that going to play any kind of role at all in your decision?
Mark Harrell: "It depends. I feel like Michigan is close enough. California might be a little bit of a stretch. I actually just came back from Notre Dame and I know Michigan and Notre Dame are pretty close to each other. We took a two hour flight and just a little bit of a drive from the airport. It was not too, too bad. It was not as bad as far it was going to be distance wise."
Sam Webb: How was Notre Dame? What were your impressions of the Irish?
Mark Harrell: "There is a lot of tradition, great facilities, like the coaches. I can't really put them in the picture yet because they haven't really made an offer."
Sam Webb: With a visit to Michigan yet to be taken, I'm curious about what you already know about the Maize & Blue? What do you know about the school? What are your impressions of the coaches so far?
Mark Harrell: "I know the Big House. That's a great place to play. It is surrounded by tradition and some of the best fans in the nation. The coaches seem like real good guys. I know what they've done with San Diego State speaks volumes for their great coaching abilities and I'm excited and it looks like a good opportunity."