Navy fans are used to their players being undersized but at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds Harrell is quite a load for a wide receiver and that's one of the things that attracted the Navy coaches to the player from central Texas. Harrell's is also very strong for his size as indicated by his 285-pound bench press maximum and his 4.59 forty time which makes him particularly a deadly weapon on the football field.
During his senior season Harrell, who served as team captain for Plano, had already attracted the attention of the Navy coaches as a quarterback. With just five games remaining in the season an injury to Harrell's throwing shoulder forced the Plano staff to move him wide receiver. That's when Harrell's versatility really caught the eyes of college recruiters. Harrell not only helped his team but he downright dominated. "I played in 5 games and I had 25 catches for 300 yards," said Harrell who earned All-District honors after the season as a wide receiver.
The Navy coaches weren't the only ones that noticed Harrell's exploits on the football field. Coaches from Army, Central Florida, Air Force, Louisiana-Monroe and Buffalo also recruited Harrell and offered him. Harrell says that Army and Air Force recruited him the hardest after Navy.
Harrell visited Navy in January and immediately liked what he saw. While he was impressed with the tradition and academics of the academy it was the honesty of Paul Johnson and his staff impressed him the most. Coaches of other teams tried to lure Harrell with promises of early playing time and a starting position but the Navy coaches were up front with Harrell, "They weren't messing around saying that I'd play next year or not play next year . . . they told me if I was better than the other people then I'd play," said Harrell.
Harrell, who says his play is similar to that of former Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones, also excels at basketball. In fact, as a junior he was the Defensive MVP of his Plano team, which won the 2005-06 Texas State Championship. Maybe Billy Lange might want to talk to Harrell and Paul Johnson about giving Harrell a shot on the basketball court as well.
Harrell has played against rivalries before in high school but the thought of someday playing in the Army-Navy game is somewhat incomprehensible to Harrell, "I don't know what to think, the only thing to compare it to is my rivalries in high school and those are like nothing compared to that rivalry. I just don't know; it's going to be crazy."
It all starts on June 27th for Harrell. That's when the stellar athlete reports to the Naval Academy. He's excited but a little nervous and that's understandable. He'll do well because he's a winner and he'll be among winners, the Navy Midshipmen.