Nebraska got a good one in Harper

When people talk about versatility, it usually signifies a player's ability to play another position then what they primarily already play. In the case of some cornerbacks, it's to play safety and in the case of some defensive ends it's their ability to move inside. That type of versatility pales in comparison to Eric Harper's at Marrero (La.) John Ehret High School.

At 6-foot-4.5 and 220-pounds, Eric Harper probably projects to play as a defensive end in college at Nebraska. At Marrero (La.) Ehret Johns HS he has played quite a few positions.

"Eric played defensive end, defensive tackle, inside linebacker, outside linebacker and strong safety," Head Coach Billy North said. "And that is just on defense. He played wide receiver, tight end, full back and quarterback on offense. He also returned kicks."

Coach North attributes Harper's versatility to Eric's love for the game. If you are looking for Eric, try the nearest football field or open place where anyone could even assemble a game.

"He's just an all-time ballplayer, he doesn't want to come off of the field. Eric plays football all the time. They will find a lot and play there. They will even play on the concrete of a street,"

While Harper has the passion, the versatility and the ability that you want in a recruit, the best thing about him might be his potential. Harper has the ability to potentially gain weight and not lose a lot of speed.

"Eric is about 6-foot-5 and 220-pounds. He's skinny. He has the waist of a model. He could easily go up to 240 or 250 pounds and maintain a 4.7/40. He is more in the 4.6 range now."

One of the biggest questions about Harper might be his academic situation. Harper can't compete this fall because of his age, he's 19. While one door is closed, another has opened. Harper will graduate at mid-term and enroll at Nebraska.

"Eric will graduate in December. Eric started elementary school late is all. He will get a chance to graduate in December and start school in Lincoln this January."

If there is something lost, beyond the season, it might be the stock that Harper has in the recruiting world. Already, Harper has the respect of the people in the area and in the state this year.

"If Eric was a senior, if he was able to play as a senior, he would be a top 15 or 20 player in the state, easy. He was all-metro last year as a junior playing linebacker."

While Harper earned honors last season as a linebacker last season, his future might be at that position, but more than likely it will be with his hand on the ground on the line of scrimmage.

"Eric is maybe a linebacker at Nebraska, but more than likely a defensive end. If he puts on 15-20 pounds, which he can, he could play coming off of the edge as a defensive end."

While it's not for certain what position Harper might play at Nebraska, there is one thing that Coach North says is certain about Harper. "Nebraska got a great player. No doubt. They got a great one."


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