Up Close: Todd Harrelson, Part II

CHESAPEAKE, Va. --- After excelling at cornerback as a sophomore, Todd Harrelson played both sides of the ball during his junior season. He took to the wide receiver position immediately.

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    "We always knew that he was going to be good [on offense]," said Richard Morgan, Chesapeake (Va.) Smith's head football coach. "We just needed him to focus on one side of the ball as a sophomore. We had four good receivers and we don't really need a kid to start both ways as a sophomore."

    Harrelson, a 6-foot 185-pounder, plays the split end (or X receiver), in Smith's four-receiver spread offense, which throws the ball 65- to 70-percent of the time.

    "He's our guy that beats one-on-one coverage," said Morgan. "We put him on the outside against the other team's corner and he's our one-on-one coverage beater. He's our deep threat."

    In his first year at the position, Harrelson was named to the All-District Team after catching 32 passes for 710 yards and seven touchdowns.

    With a year of experience under his belt, Harrelson expects to improve on those numbers.

    "This year, I'll know my position [better] and I should be able to produce more than I did the previous year," said Harrelson.

    Additionally, Smith returns all of its offensive skill players, including a highly touted sophomore quarterback.

    "Our quarterback [Phillip Sims] will have a year of experience and he'll be a sophomore," said Morgan. "So we'll probably throw the ball even more than we did in the past. I would expect [Harrelson's] receptions, his yards, and his touchdowns to go up from what they did last year."

    Defensively, Harrelson is Smith's shutdown corner.

    "Whoever is the best receiver on the other team is who he's matched up with the entire night," said Morgan. "His role is to shutdown the other team's big play threat and take him out of the game.

    "Since we blitz so much, most of the time he's in man-to-man coverage. I'd say probably 70-percent of the time we're blitzing, so he's in man-coverage probably 70-percent of the time."

    As a sophomore, Harrelson collected three interceptions and 12 pass breakups. He doubled those numbers as a junior, picking off seven passes and deflecting 24 others. He also recorded 30 tackles.

    Harrelson picked up plenty of accolades for his defensive play – All-District, All-Tide Water, and Second Team All-State.

    During his senior season, Harrelson hopes to continue to add to his trophy case.

    "Other than winning the state championship, [my goal is] for me to be all-state at both positions," said Harrelson.

    Given his accomplishments and experience at cornerback, it's easy to assume that defensive back would be Harrelson's collegiate position. However, Morgan says UNC is recruiting him exclusively for wide receiver.

    "The plan is for him to play receiver and stay at receiver, because that's where they needed him at," said Morgan. "Although he's an all-state defensive back -- he could do that -- he wants to play receiver in college and that's where they're recruiting him as."

    Morgan believes Harrelson will shine on either side of the ball.

    "I'd say he'll excel at receiver, because he has that big play potential," said Morgan. "But I will say this: there are not too many 6-foot-1 cornerbacks that can run a 4.5 [40-yard dash time] like he can. Most DBs are 5-10, 5-11, and they are fast, but he's 6-1 with long arms. At corner, he poses a mismatch, because he can match up with those other receivers."

    Morgan added that UNC is offering Harrelson a chance at early playing time.

    "If he's ready to play, then he plays," said Morgan. "If he's ready to play, then they could get him on the field and use him [his freshman] year. If he's not ready, then they'll just continue to work him until he gets ready.

    "But I think with his route running and the way he does things now, I think he could play and contribute as a freshman."

    Todd Harrelson Profile

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