Mark Harrell talks Tenn. offer and more
"Yesterday, Coach Terry Joseph came by my high school and extended an offer from Tennessee," Mark Harrell said. "They're a really reputable SEC school. As far as academics, I don't know too much about them, but I'm definitely going to look into what they have to offer. It's a big time program. I'll possibly visit before making my decision. I'm going to try the best I can to fit in more trips this summer before I decide."
Harrell's offer list has grown to 18 Division 1 programs. He's trying to scrutinize and narrow his choices, but more offers could be coming soon.
"This spring I've taken visits to Auburn for their spring game, Chapel Hill, UVA, Notre Dame, Michigan, and South Carolina," Harrell said. "A coach from Florida was by the school today, and said they're really interested and close to offering. They just need to evaluate more film. I'm hoping to narrow my list soon publicly in the next two weeks."
Harrell was named All-County (Mecklenburg) and All-Conference (MEGA-7) in his second year as a starter last season. The Charlotte Observer named him one of the top players in the region. The team went 14-1 falling only once in the semifinal of the 3A playoffs to Boiling Springs Crest.
"Being a lineman you don't get stats like other positions, but I thought I improved a lot this year," said Harrell. "I played more aggressive, meaner. I did better finishing blocks, and it looked better on film.
"My size is God-given, but it helps if you play with kind of a nasty streak. I gained a lot of confidence with my performance this season. This winter I played basketball, which I feel helps me with my overall athleticism and with quicker feet. I'm throwing the shot put, and I think that helps with my explosion. I'm working out at Velocity Sports Performance doing a lot of ground-based exercises."
Harrell attended a Shrine Bowl Combine in Williamston, NC. He also plans on being at the Nike Combine at Duke University on May 22nd. In the meantime he's busy researching schools and discussing them with his parents.
"My parents have gone on the visits with me," Harrell said. "Their input will be a big factor in my decision. Academics are a really big for me. I'd like to earn a solid degree in either Business or Marketing. The next thing is how well I fit in. I'd like to be in a place I feel at home and comfortable because I'll be there the next four possibly five years. Third, I want to win football games. I'd like to play for a program with a winning tradition. You put so much time and energy into it, you might as well enjoy winning games."
Harrell hopes to to have his decision made by the beginning of senior year at Charlotte Catholic, then make a big final run with his fellow Cougars.
"We came close last year with a very successful season at 14-1," Harrell said. "I want to do it again, and this time win a state championship. I just want to have fun playing and win games. Individually, I hope to have my decision made so I can focus on getting better and boost my rating at offensive lineman."
Harrell is enrolled in honor classes at the academically challenging Roman Catholic high school. He plans to graduate next May 2012.
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