As a senior at Palo Verde High School in Las Vegas (NV), Jarrell Harrison, playing quarterback, led his team to the Class 4A state championship and was named the Southern Nevada Offensive Player of the Year. He passed for 763 yards and nine touchdowns and rushed for 683 yards and 13 scores.
He inked with UNLV over Oregon State the following February, as the Runnin' Rebels offered him the opportunity to play quarterback. However, he failed to qualify academically and headed to Pierce (CA) Comm. College in 2006. He attended the school for a year before transferring to City College of San Francisco, arguably the top junior college program in the country. At CCSF, he medically redshirted in 2007 and really burst on the scene this year. With two years to play two seasons, Harrison is looking for a place he can play right away.
"Playing time is a major factor for me," he said. "I've only got two years to play so I'm looking for a school where I can go in and contribute right away. I'm looking for the best fit for me, but it's really going to be where I can come in and make the biggest impact right away. All of the colleges that have offered me say I can come right in and compete for playing time."
At 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, he has prototypical size for the free safety position and had a big sophomore year at CCSF. He finished the regular season with over 100 tackles and four interceptions, earning first-team all-conference honors. He helped lead CCSF to a 7-3 record and a berth in the Hawaiian Punch Bowl on Dec. 6 in San Francisco.
"We had a good year," said Harrison. "I'm looking forward to our bowl game. We're going to win that one."
The season hasn't prevented Harrison from focusing on his recruitment. With offers on the table from Arizona, NC State, Hawaii, Missouri, Arizona State, and UNLV, Harrison has already taken visits to Missouri and Arizona.
"I liked Missiouri," he stated. "It was a small college town and everybody was all about Mizzou football. I'm not really used to a small town atmosphere, but I could get to where I like it.
"I also liked my trip to Arizona. It was fun. It's close to home, but that's not too much of a big factor for me because I've been away from home for a couple of years now. I like the facilities and the team at Arizona."
With plans to sign in December, Harrison has three trips remaining before reaching a decision. He has one visit set for this weekend and could take another trip in two weeks and two programs are battling for that visit. This weekend he'll head to Raleigh, North Carolina where he will visit the NC State Wolfpack.
"I go to NC State this weekend and in two weeks I'll go to either UNLV or Arizona State," he said. "There are four schools that are really recruiting me hard... NC State, Missouri, Arizona, and UNLV have been recruiting me the hardest."
NC State started recruiting Harrison during his season and Wolfpack defensive backs coach Mike Reid is handling his recruitment.
"Coach Reed came out here about four weeks ago," said Harrison. "He's the secondary coach and he let it be known that there is a big need for safety. He said I can come in right away and battle for playing time and have a shot at starting if I do my job."
Hailing from Nevada, Harrison admits that he doesn't know much about NC State. However, he is very familiar with the Wolfpack coaching staff and they have caught his attention with their success.
"I've never been to North Carolina State so I'm really looking forward to this trip," he said. "I'm excited about it because I've never been out there so I want to see what they are all about.
"I know coach O'Brien was at Boston College for around ten years and he won a lot of games there. I know he's turning it around at NC State. I really think he's going to get that program going in the right direction."
Don't expect a quick decision from Harrison, as he plans on waiting until Signing Day before giving a verbal commitment.
"Right now, I'm pretty open," he said. "If I had to say there was a favorite it would be Missouri, but I'm going to take all of my trips before I make a decision. I want to find the best place for me so I need to go on all of my visits before I sign with a school."