WHAT TO LIKE
First, Jalen Harvey is a massive defensive linemen. The number one question from West Virginia fans in terms of recruiting is 'Why can't WVU get big defensive linemen?' Harvey answers that query, and while he's just one response to a question that needs two or three answers per year, he's a great anchor.
Despite his size (6-3, 335 lbs.) Harvey has good mobility. He could play either tackle or nose for WVU. He's playing at the latter at Northwest Mississippi, and expects, because of his bulk, to get a look inside with the Mountaineers, but he isn't stuck as a one-position player. If he could be paired with another big-bodied linemate, the Mountaineers could deploy more beef on the defensive front than they have in several years.
Harvey will be making his second trip to Division I, having signed with and enrolled at Syracuse in 2014. Homesickness and a general inability to find a good fit led him to leave for junior college. Will that again be a problem when he travels north from his Alabama home? He says no, that he has matured, and that may be the case, but it is something to watch.
As with any junior college player, there are the twin questions of coaching and competition. Northwest plays a tough schedule, so the latter shouldn't be a problem, but just how refined will Harvey be when he arrives in January? He has to hit the ground running, because he has just two years to play, and no redshirt season to fall back on.
Harvey is a big body that has had a taste of a Division I program. He shouldn't have to do a lot of reshaping, and will have every opportunity to contribute early on WVU's defensive front, which will be hit hard by graduation losses at the conclusion of this season. His ability to play either tackle or nose will help, but he'll have to get comfortable quickly.
Harvey may have fallen into the cracks of the juco evaluation process – he didn't follow the normal path to a two-year school. While Mississippi junior colleges are certainly in the spotlight of major college recruiters, West Virginia was easily his best offer to date. Perhaps a few more schools will come calling after getting a look at he tape from early games this year, but WVU beat them to the punch-- and hopes to score a knockout in terms of his play over the next two seasons.