DB is no EB

When you think about strong safeties from Fairburn, Ga., inevitably the first name that comes to mind is former Tennessee All-American Eric Berry.

Someday, Jaylon Harvey is hoping his name will be the second that comes to mind.

Like Berry, Harvey grew up in Fairburn. Like Berry, Harvey packs 195 pounds on a 5-11 frame. Like Berry, Harvey found his football home in the secondary.

Whether the similarities end there or not will depend on Harvey's development over the next two years. Whereas Berry already has proven himself to be an All-American and All-Pro caliber of player, Harvey is just wrapping up his sophomore year at Langston Hughes High. He has met Berry, however, and is understandably awed by his accomplishments.

"I know him pretty well through his little brothers," Harvey said during a break in the InsideTennessee combine earlier this spring. "And I know his dad pretty well, too."

Eric's dad, James Berry, was a starting running back at Tennessee in 1979, '80 and '81. Vol fans are hoping two more members of the Berry clan will wear the orange someday. Twin brothers Evan and Elliot are rising sophomores at Creekside High, Eric's alma mater.

"I've seen the little ones, and they're pretty good," Harvey said. "They're getting there. They could be as good as Eric."

Harvey has a chance to be pretty good, too. He posted 11 tackles as a sophomore at Hughes High last fall and showed flashes of college potential. He believes he has a good head for the game, and that gives him an advantage over a lot of defensive backs.

"I think about the game," he said. "The thing I do best is mainly reading the play. I play strong safety, where you get to free-lance. You're the quarterback of the defense. You make sure nobody gets behind you."

Harvey enjoys his sport immensely, and that fondness for football helps him maintain a high level of energy and enthusiasm on the field.

"The thing I like best about football is the fun and the intensity and the competition," he said.

Although he has his own page with the "beRecruited.com" website, Harvey hasn't given a great deal of thought to what he's looking for in a college.

"I'm mainly thinking about my major - a good automotive engineering program," he said.

Asked what he's looking for in a football program, Harvey replied, "Commitment, a good positive environment and caring coaches."


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