Minnesota commitment visiting Vanderbilt
"There are a lot of reasons for my interest in Vanderbilt," said Jamel Harbison, "but most importantly is the education. I have had great interaction with the coaching staff. Coach Franklin talked to me about the spread offense they run, what the wide receivers do and how many touches they usually get, and where I would fit into the game plan."
The 6-foot, 195-pound prospect was a three-year starter at Mallard Creek. He played running back as a sophomore. With the emergence of talented Jela Duncan, his coaches decided to move him to wide receiver where he posted 67 catches for 861 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2010.
"This year I had a pretty good season," Harbison said. "I made between 55 and 60 receptions and 21 touchdowns, one was a throwing touchdown and two were kick returns.
"I improved on breaking off my routes and confusing the defensive backs. I did a good job of disguising my route if I was going to stop, cut, or keep running deep."
Harbison plans on announcing his final decision on National Signing Day. Along with Harbison and Duncan, D.J. Humphries, Andrew Goodman, and Corey Miller are other Mavericks expected to sign with Division 1 programs.
"Minnesota is a great university," said Harbison, "but it would take my parents 20 hours to get there. That's two days of driving. So distance is a factor in making my final decision because I want my parents to be able to travel easily to see me play.
"I'm also considering the education being offered and being in a good atmosphere for the next four or five years."
Harbison took an official visit to Minnesota prior to his commitment and says the Golden Gophers are still very much in consideration. Two schools from his home state of North Carolina are also vying for his services.
"I'm probably going to give ECU an official visit the week before I go to Vanderbilt," said Harbison. "I haven't gone on an official visit, but I'm being heavily recruited by Lonnie Galloway at Wake Forest. I've built a really strong relationship with him over the past three years."
The Mallard Creek Mavericks finished 13-1 for the second consecutive season with a loss to Page in the 4A semifinals. Harbison was outstanding at wide receiver and quarterback. He tied the game at 27 with a 25-yard dash, but the game unraveled for the Mavericks with two late costly turnovers to fall, 41-27.
Harbison was named First Team All-Region by the Charlotte Observer at wide receiver. He finished the season with 810 receiving yards and 205 rushing yards for Mallard Creek. In the nationally televised Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, Harbison got the Tarheel side on the scoreboard with a 94-yard kick return in the second quarter.
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