When an off-the-field scandal rocked Parlin (N.J.) Sayreville and led to the district shutting down the football program for the 2014 season, plenty of people found themselves in limbo.
Myles Hartsfield, a talented cornerback and receiver, was committed to Penn State, but saw his offer pulled.
Now, the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Hartsfield is a post-graduate student at Great Barrington (Mass.) East Coast Prep, has offers from UCLA, Temple and Boston College, and is receiving interest from Alabama, Rutgers and Penn State.
But he also has a much different perspective on life, and football, after the ordeal at Sayreville.
“I learned how after what happened at my high school, things happen for a reason and adversity is going to hit and you have to keep fighting through,” Hartsfield said. “Coach (Dick) Bell gave me a second chance. He didn’t look at what the media was saying. He let me speak on my behalf. He didn’t look at what everyone else sees. He looks at what he sees and makes a decision. That’s what I like about coach Bell.”
Schools are also willing to give Hartsfield a second look, and UCLA is one pursuing him on the offensive side.
“After they offered me, I did a little research on their background and coach (Jim) Mora has done a great job with the team,” Hartsfield said. “They have some Jersey kids, like Devin Fuller, and I know they want me to play slot receiver. I know they graduate a few slots this year, so there would be the chance for early playing time.”
One thing tough about Hartsfield’s recruitment is players only have access to cell phones on Sundays for a few hours, so talking to coaches is not easy. He has email and twitter access for less than an hour a day, so college recruiters have very limited time to contact Hartsfield.
“I’m talking to Rutgers. I’m talking to Penn State. I got an offer from Boston College (Thursday),” Hartsfield said. “Most of the schools I talked to last year, they want me to finish here because they know this place gets rid of all the distractions. I’m trying to rebuild my character and see I’m a great kid and things just happen and sometimes you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Hartsfield decided to take the post-graduate route in the early summer, and soon after he made a visit to Alabama for a camp.
“I did really well,” he said. “I ran really well. I jumped really well. I had a 43.4-inch vertical, I jumped 10-4 in the broad jump. I went down there for the fun of it because I was working out.
“It was a fun experience. I never went to a campus that big. It was so beautiful, and I hope they see I have the potential t play there. “