Harper is a top JC back

One of the best runners in the country has gone largely unnoticed this year, but Iowa Central's Steve Harper (5-10, 195) won't stay "below the radar" much longer. He put up huge numbers this season and he's started to garner some interest from some BCS conference schools.

"Out of high school I didn't have any offers, but I got a lot of letters and handwritten stuff from a bunch of places," Harper told JCFootball.com recently. "Florida, Florida State, Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas A&M and a bunch of others.

"Kansas State was really close to offering, but they knew I wouldn't qualify, so they tried to find me a junior college in Kansas, but we settled on this one because it was the best fit."

Harper, who prepped at Mesquite High School in Mesquite, Texas, runs the 40 in 4.43 seconds and sports a 33-inch vertical leap. He's also strong, benching 340 pounds and squatting almost 500 pounds.

"I'm a good inside runner," Harper said confidently. "Early on in my career, especially in high school, players would come up and try to hit me hit and they would just bounce off of me. I have good balance and they learned pretty quickly you can't tackle me high.

"Our offense doesn't use me that much catching the ball, but I can do that really good I think. I'm not a one-dimensional guy because I can run inside, I have the speed to go outside and I can catch the ball too."

This past season for Iowa Central, Harper rushed for a league-best 1,415 yards and 14 touchdowns and garnered first team All-Midwest Football Conference honors at running back.

All of this came less than a year after he broke his leg against North Dakota State.

"It hurt bad, but I'm 100-percent now," Harper said. "I broke it early in our playoff game and missed the rest of that game and our bowl game.

"I worked real hard over the summer getting my leg back in shape and it's all good now."

As far as recruiting is concerned, Harper has received tepid interest to this point, but he's hoping some added exposure and some game tapes will rectify the matter.

"So far New Mexico, Eastern Michigan, Illinois, Texas A&M and Nevada are really the only ones sending me stuff," Harper said. "I'm sending my tapes out to a bunch of different schools now and hopefully I can get some offers and set up some visits."

Harper will graduate in May with his degree and will have three years to play two wherever he ends up.

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