Harper Looks Like A Tennessee Sleeper

Oklahoma State and Mike Gundy have never been a group to recruit by the numbers (of stars) and they have always evaluated and made their own decision on prospects. It has paid off repeatedly and may again with the latest commitment of Devin Harper out of Karns High School in Knoxville, Tenn.

Harper is a 6-1, 210-pound athlete who has played wide receiver, outside linebacker, and safety for Karns. He is reported to be a near 4.5 in the forty and a very athletic prospect. The best indicator of that may be from the basketball court. That is another favorite indicator of Gundy. He has often evaluated a recruit athletically on the basketball floor. Last season Harper averaged 13.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.5 steals a game at Karns.

The drawback on Harper is not his stats but the fact that he appeared to play just seven games as a sophomore and less than that last season as a junior. Watching on tape, number 15 plays both sides of the ball and makes big plays and plays unselfish with some clearing blocks at wide receiver and showing he knows the defense by staying in his coverage rather than jumping plays early.

As a junior last season he had four carries for 37 yards running the football, he caught 7 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown. On defense, he had 28 tackles with 19 of those unassisted and he had 3.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, and two blocked field goals. His sophomore season he had 35 tackles, 23 unassisted with 8.5 tackles for losses, 5.5 sacks, and two fumbles forced.

Now, Harper was not a highly regarded prospect in terms of stars or schools offering with a Scout ranking of 53rd of 65 prospects in Tennessee. He had scholarship offers from Chattanooga, Jacksonville State, Liberty, Morehead State, and Murray State. I know that could scare some schools but it does not Oklahoma State.

Nobody on the Cowboys staff can comment but from what I can see they likely look at Harper as a player that could wind up being an outside linebacker, possibly a candidate to play the hybrid "star" linebacker.

"He text me this morning and told me he thought he was going to commit on Wednesday before he went on vacation," said Karns head coach Tobi Kilgore. "I told him, you know what you want to do, get it done, and enjoy it before you go on vacation. He went ahead and committed to Oklahoma State."

Kilgore told me that he knew what he had in Harper as a player, but because of various circumstances his recruiting had not taken off.

"Last season for us he played wide receiver, outside linebacker, and contain safety," explained Kilgore. "He had a broken hand last season and missed over half the season, and as a sophomore he had a knee injury after seven games, but had surgery and it is completely repaired.

"He went to a camp this spring and recorded a 4.6 lazer (forty). I got ahold of J.J. McClesky (former Tennessee and NFL receiver) who played here before going to Tennessee and his son is going to OSU and had him help me get the word out. I sent a tape Easter (Sunday) to Coach (Eric) Henderson at Oklahoma State. He went to their camp last week and he earned his scholarship.

"He will play outside linebacker and running back for us this season, and he is the best player on our team. He can do everything and we need him on offense more for us to be successful, but in college they will play him on defense and he may get big enough at linebacker to move in the box."

Harper was in Stillwater with both parents and a younger brother. Both parents work for the U.S. government and his coach said he is a very squared away young man from an academic and discipline standpoint. He added Oklahoma State is getting a really good football player as well as a good young man.

Harper is Oklahoma State's ninth verbal commitment and the fifth on the defensive side of the ball. He is the fourth commitment in the secondary to go along with three cornerback commitments.

GoPokes Top Stories