|School:||Montclair High, Montclair, NJ|
Derrick Harper is one of the best wide-receiver prospects in the state of New Jersey. Derrick recently attended the Nike Camp at Penn State (4/21) and performed very well as expected.
"I did real well at the camp, especially during the one-on-one drills," Derrick said. "All the coaches were complimenting me on how well I ran my patterns."
Derrick was named 1st Team All-County, All-Conference and All-League last year as a result of his impressive junior season.
"On defense, I had 50 tackles, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles and 1 recovery. On offense, I had 35 catches for 820 yards and 10 touchdowns. 2 of the touchdowns were punt returns.
"I really understand the game well. I can go for the long ball or get the first down if we need it, depending on the defense. Most teams have a pretty difficult time covering me because if they play me close, I'll go deep, and if they play me deep, I'll do a hitch pattern and run up. Most of my touchdowns were changed at the line."
Derrick has already earned several scholarship offers.
"Syracuse, Rutgers, Penn State, Maryland, UVA and Florida have offered. The Syracuse' offer is verbal, I talked to them today, and the Florida offer is verbal too. They said it should be in the mail sometime this week."
Does Derrick have any early favorites?
"Not really, not right now," he said. "If I had to say a top 3, I'd have to pick Maryland, Florida and probably UVA."
Derrick plans to attend at least one football camp this summer.
"I'm thinking about either Maryland, Syracuse or UVA, somewhere around this area."
Derrick attended a junior day at Maryland. He also took his first trip to Penn State last month to attend the Blue-White game and Nike Camp.
"It was nice. I like their fans a lot, they're really into in down there. I like their facilities too. It's real nice there, everyone was real nice.
Derrick also likes that Penn State "is not too far from home, but not close."
Coach Ganter is recruiting Derrick. Derrick is interested in Penn State and said that the Nittany Lions "are definitely in my top 5".
"See, right now, there are so many things that I'm looking at in a school, it's not just how good the team is, so I really don't have a top choice right now. I have to break it down a little later."
The May evaluation period should keep Derrick quite busy this month.
"I know Michigan will probably be coming down next week, and Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech will probably end up offering me because my brother Leon Harper went to Georgia Tech and ended up played for the Cowboys. He played wideout too until he got hurt on the turf.
"But, he graduated from college, so he had his degree in business and marketing and he started his own little business up now. That's another reason why I want to go somewhere there is a good academic support program. I was looking at graduation rates for some schools and I was like 'woah', some schools had only around 40, 50% of their players graduating and that's terrible.
"I'm looking for a school that has a good rate of athletes graduating and a place where I can start as soon as possible. They don't have to be that great, just somewhere I could go and play, maybe redshirt a year and then probably get into the starting mix. I'm looking for a school with good academic support. I'm mostly looking at schools academically."
Derrick also plans to educate himself as to the quarterback situations at prospective schools.
"I'm trying to go somewhere where they have a good quarterback already there. I don't want to go somewhere where the quarterbacks are young and [unproven]."
Derrick is already a full qualifier.
"I just got my SATs back a little while ago, I got a 1010 on the SAT. That was my first time taking it too."