Utah football hosted a large, talented group of recruits this past weekend for their homecoming game against the Arizona Wildcats. One of those visitors, West Virginia commit Michael Harley Jr. took some time to talk to us about his trip to Salt Lake City.
“Utah was great. I loved the vibe out there, especially between the coaches & players. My host was Devontae (Henry-Cole), and we had a good time,” he said. “I spent a lot of time with the guys from St. Thomas Aquinas. They took us out to a haunted house our first night, which was cool. They took us out to eat, and around the city, which I was surprised by how big it was. Then game day, we got a tour of the campus and where we’d spend most of our time based on our major, and the game was absolutely crazy. The fans were crazy and it was good to see the Utes win.”
Harley committed to West Virginia back in June and has continually stated his commitment is firm. After a solid start to his senior season, more schools have gotten involved in Harley's recruitment, and the Utes have continued to actively recruit the speedy wideout.
“Coach Erickson is my main recruiter, and I have a good relationship with him. He’s like a great uncle. He’s always checking up on me and not even about football,” explained Harley. “Coach Holliday has gotten involved in my recruitment too, and I like him. He’s a straightforward coach and has put a lot of guys in the league. Coach Whittingham has been there since 2005 and won a lot of games. They have a great tradition. The coaches have really built a great program and a winning program.”
The Utes see Harley as a guy that can play on the outside and in the slot, and believe that he's someone who can come in early and compete for playing time. Another the thing the Utes may have in their favor are former St Thomas Aquinas teammates and current Utes Devontae Henry-Cole, Chris Hart, and Tyson Cisrow to help in his recruitment. “It was good to hang out with those guys. They’re always telling me about Utah and how great it is out here. They say it’s a good change from Florida, and just a great program to play for,” he said.
Although the Utes made a strong impression, they still have some work to do in Harley's recruitment. “I’m still committed to West Virginia. I have a great relationship with them, and they’ve put a lot of receivers into the league too,” he said. “I do have other visits set up, and I’m excited to take those. I plan on making a final decision after the season and after all my visits.”
Thus far, Harley has visits set up with Wisconsin, West Virginia, Michigan, and Louisville in the coming weeks. As he compares the programs based on what he sees, Harley says his decision will come down to something pretty simple. “I’m looking for honesty from the coaches, a winning program and early playing time. Those are my three big factors,” he said.