The offer from the University of Wisconsin had just been extended to him a few hours earlier, but Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas receiver Michael Harley Jr. already knew what it meant to him, so much so that Harley claimed the Badgers were one of his four top schools off an impressive offer sheet.
“It’s a good college,” Harley told BadgerNation. “They’ve put a lot of running backs and receivers in the N.F.L.”
Offered by defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield through Harley’s head coach, the 5-10, 170-pound receiver knows about the Badgers because he went against cornerback Dontye Carriere-Williams, a Wisconsin 2016 commit, every day in practice last year.
“I started knowing him last year; I played 7-on-7 last year when he was at Booker T. Washington, until he came to St. Thomas and we became like best friends,” said Harley. “He’s a smart, physical corner. He’s very aggressive, but at the same time he’s reads a receiver’s mind. The way I play against him, I have to react quick or he’s going to jump my route or I’ll be locked down all day. He just makes me go.”
An early three-star prospect, Harley was a well-versed role player for the Raiders on their march to a 13-1 season and a 7A state championship. He finished fifth on the team with 11 receptions that went for 121 yards and three touchdowns. He also had five carries for 57 yards, 110 kick return yards, 79 punt return yards and went 2-for-2 passing for 41 yards.
“I’ve been running track all season long,” said Harley. “My main goal is to get my weight up. I have the speed, I have the talent, I have the hands; I just need to get my weight up and I’ll be solid. I have to learn more defense and coverage. If I learn all that, I’ll be all right, but getting my weight up is the main goal.”
Approaching 20 scholarship offers, Harley said Miami, Utah and West Virginia are the other schools standing out to him from a list that also includes Maryland, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Syracuse and others.
“West Virginia puts all types of all-purpose, all-size, all-speed people in the league, and they pass the ball a lot,” said Harley. “Miami is a good system and a good staff. Things are different there this year, so we’ll see how it goes. Utah recruits a lot of kids from South Florida. They have three kids who play for St. Thomas right now.”
Having The Opening Regional in Miami this weekend, Harley will visit West Virginia March 13. He also is working up setting up a visit to Wisconsin.
“I hope I can go visit in the spring,” Harley said of Wisconsin, “and get comfortable with the coaching staff.”