Kansas Blue-Chip Chris Harper Visits MU Again
"I didn't know what to expect at Mizzou," he said of his first in-depth unofficial visit, during which he spent time with head coach Gary Pinkel and assistant coach Andy Hill, in addition to taking a tour of the campus and academic facilities.
"I didn't think I would like it as much as I did. It was a surprise. It went real good," Harper said.
Harper is a 6-foot-2, 225-pound ultra-talented athlete who passed for 500 yards and rushed for another 1,000-plus last year at Northwest High in Wichita, KS. He is ranked by Scout.com as the No. 3 prospect in Kansas and holds offers from too many schools to name – foremost among them, Mizzou, Cal, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Kansas State, Texas A&M and Kansas.
While the vast majority of schools are recruiting him as an athlete, wide receiver or linebacker, MU's staff has offered him the chance to play quarterback. The value of that cannot be understated.
Harper's father "liked it a lot. It was the first time he got to sit down one on one and talk to Coach Pinkel. He told me that they'll keep me at quarterback," said Harper, who runs a 4.44-second 40-yard dash and also averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds on the hardwood last season.
"It's big," he said of Pinkel's offer to play quarterback, "because that's where I want to play."
Harper has been to Mizzou before, but this was a far more in-depth experience. He thoroughly enjoyed the campus and learned more about the school's academics.
"I want to major in communications, and they're really big in communications," he said.
Harper does not have a favorite at this point and is going into the process with an open mind. After his Mizzou visit he went to check out Illinois, which, along with MU and Kansas State is one of the only schools to offer him as a quarterback. He'll take a trip to LSU next Friday and plans to check out Florida State, Miami, Ole Miss and Florida later this summer. He'll pick his favorites at summer's end, then plans to take all five official visits and make a commitment during or after the football season; he's in no rush.
But even with some of college football's blueblood programs recruiting him, he's not worried about name recognition in the slightest.
"Not really. I have an opportunity to be a difference maker at one of these programs and build something special," he said.
It's also interesting to note that Harper will be playing in a system very similar to MU's spread attack next fall. His school ran some similar sets previously but is overhauling its attack to one mirroring MU's. He likes the comparison between himself and Brad Smith, though he did point out that he feels he can make plenty of plays with his arm as well.
And during his visit with Pinkel, he got to learn a little bit more about the Tigers' system.
"I didn't know that they ran the no-huddle all game, and I really like that," he said.
Likewise, Mizzou's coaches would really like to have him running it for them.
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