Jamel Harbison talks relationships

Talented slot receiver, Jamel Harbison, from Charlotte-area powerhouse Mallard Creek High School, recently trimmed his list of schools to four. Out of 14 offers he now favors N.C. State, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, and Minnesota, although he may wait to make a decision until later in the year.

"Once we get into the season I'm planning on taking my official visits to each school," Jamel Harbison stated. "There are different things I like about each program.

"At Wake Forest, I have a great relationship with Coach (Lonnie) Galloway, the new wide receivers coach from West Virginia. It's a fun atmosphere and they offer an exceptional education.

"N.C. State also has a great atmosphere. I love their fans and how passionate they are. They run the spread, and I think I could go their and see the field early and possibly start."

Although Harbison plays in ACC country, he says the schools showing him the most interest are the two out-of-state programs.

"Minnesota is a great Big Ten school," said Harbison. "I really like their new coaching staff. They've probably been the one school who has stayed in contact with me the most.

"Right now I like them (Minnesota) and Vanderbilt with N.C. State and Wake Forest close behind.

"At Vanderbilt you get an Ivy League education while playing in the SEC. I've got a good relationship with Coach (Chris) Beatty, and I think Coach Franklin is awesome. They may be my best chance to see the field early. They haven't really been recruiting a lot of receivers the past couple of years."

The 6-foot, 193-pound Harbison has played and started in his first three seasons at Mallard Creek. As a freshman and sophomore, he played running back. With the emergence of Jela Duncan, his coaches used him at slot last year where he made 67 catches for 861 yards and 14 touchdowns.

His team went 13-1 losing to Vance in the quarterfinals after their senior quarterback, Marquise Williams, went down due to injury. Harbison is the top receiver returning with Kevin Asante's departure to Virginia Tech.

"I'm hoping to have at least 80 catches and 1,200 yards," said Harbison on his senior season. "I'm up eight pounds from what I played at last year, but I'm faster.

"Last year I was running at 4.6 (40-yard dash), and this year I'm at 4.49. I'm a lot stronger too. I bench 285 and then some. I feel like I'm coming in this year stronger and faster. The main thing is to make it to State and get that ring."

The Mavericks will break in a new quarterback this year for the departed Williams. They will have a big offensive tackle, D.J. Humphries, who recently committed to Florida, making big holes for Harbison and Duncan to scoot through.

"I consider myself a Wes Welker type of receiver," Harbison said. "I'm shifty, explosive, and like to get the ball and do the dirty work. We run a spread offense. I'm very comfortable playing the slot in the spread and would like to play in a similar style offense in college. It's just finding the right place to fit in with a chance to play early. First and foremost, however, is getting a great education."

The Mallard Creek Mavericks will begin their season with Butler, a school that's won the past two North Carolina 4A State championships and features junior quarterback phenom, Riley Ferguson.

Harbison will wear No. 9 again this year for the Mavericks. He will take the SAT in October.

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