Harding Harper talks Tennessee and more

Harding Harper, from Montgomery's G.W. Carver High School in Ala., has been quite a hot commodity lately in recruiting. The latest team to come calling is the University of Tennessee, a school Harper had been hoping would offer for the past two weeks.

"When Coach (Peter) Sirmon came to see me practice, we talked for awhile about where I stood with Tennessee," said Harding Harper. "He said he loved my intensity, and my film just blew his mind. I figured I may have an offer coming, but I didn't hear from them for a couple of weeks. When I called, Coach Sirmon said he could only use one call a month and was hoping I'd call him. That's when he extended the offer."

Harper, 6-foot-2, 218-pounds, holds previous offers from Arkansas State, Georgia Tech, Florida International, Memphis, and Vanderbilt.

"I was overwhelmed," Harper said of the Tennessee offer. "My brother goes to college up that way at Alabama A&M. I love their program. They had numerous outstanding players come through there. They're in the SEC, the best conference in the nation. I watch all of their games and love the way they play defense. Knoxville isn't too far away either. I'm excited. They're definitely high on my list."

The offers may not be finished yet for Harper as he says Kirby Smart from Alabama and Ted Roof from Auburn have both been by his school recently to check in. Previously at Jackson-Olin High School in Birmingham, Harper transferred to Carver where he'll play for first year head coach Billy Gresham.

"I felt like I was playing too high at linebacker," Harper said on his game as a junior. "Last year I played lower and felt I got more leverage and explosion moving towards the ball. I got quicker and stronger in the off-season which helped me to get off my blocker and in getting to the edge. I felt like I improved and got quicker with my footwork and in my hips."

Harper plays basketball and runs track, but did not compete this season due to the transfer. This summer he's planning on visiting and camping at many of the schools offering him.

"I'm definitely going to take an official visit to Tennessee," Harper said. "I'll camp there this summer. I'm going to go to Vanderbilt, Auburn, and Memphis. Coach (Tyler) Siskey is really wanting me to go see Arkansas State, so I'll probably go there as well."

With offers coming in fast, many coaches across the country will want to see what all the fuss is about. All of Harper's offers have been in the Southeast region until today.

"I just got offered by Illinois," Harper said. "I'm still hearing from the Ole Miss coaches. I'd probably say the school that's closest to offering me next is Auburn. I want to study Architectural Design, and Tennessee offers that. So that's a real good thing. I'm going to be looking at the team's depth chart. I would accept a redshirt, but it's always been a goal of mine to come into a program and develop a role in the rotation as a freshman."

Jackson-Olin struggled to a 3-7 record last season. Carver, however, made it to the second round of the playoffs in 2010. Harper's excited about the his new situation with the Wolverines.

"At Jackson-Olin we just couldn't ever get over the hump," Harper said. "As a senior player, I want to take on a leadership role on my team. I want to win a state championship, and I think we have the guys to do it."

Harper reports a 3.8 GPA and a 19 on the ACT. We wore No. 4 last year for the Mustangs at Jackson-Olin.

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