Originally published May 22, 2013 at 06:09p.m., updated May 23, 2013 at 12:28a.m.

KU football adds Miami Ohio wide receiver Nick Harwell

Miami (Ohio) receiver Nick Harwell (8) catches an 11-yard touchdown pass against Western Michigan cornerback Lewis Toler (24) in the first half of an NCAA college football game Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011, in Oxford, Ohio.

Miami (Ohio) receiver Nick Harwell (8) catches an 11-yard touchdown pass against Western Michigan cornerback Lewis Toler (24) in the first half of an NCAA college football game Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011, in Oxford, Ohio.


A team that couldn’t buy a touchdown reception from a wide receiver last season just picked up a guy who has caught a whole bunch of them.

KU officials announced Wednesday night that Miami (Ohio) senior Nick Harwell will transfer to KU for the 2013-14 school year. KU coach Charlie Weis learned that the news was official just before speaking to a group of KU fans at the Ramada Inn Downtown Convention Center in Topeka.

A native of Missouri City, Texas, Harwell, 6-foot-1, 193 pounds, missed three games in 2012 with a knee injury, but still managed to rank 13th in the NCAA in receptions per game (7.6) and 14th in the NCAA in receiving yards per game (96.7). He finished his junior season leading the Mid-American Conference with 68 receptions for 870 yards and eight touchdowns.

In 2011, as a sophomore, Harwell was the NCAA’s second-leading receiver with a 129.6 receiving-yards-per-game average. In all, he hauled in 97 receptions for 1,425 yards and nine touchdowns that season and earned first-team All-MAC honors, honorable mention All-America honors from Sports Illustrated and was named to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List.

Harwell was recruited to Miami by Mike Haywood, who was a member of Weis’ staff at Notre Dame.

“It is the same offense and terminology we used my freshman year,” Harwell told’s Jon Kirby of KU’s system. “That will help.”

Harwell, who is ranked as the 18th-best wide receiver prospect for the NFL Draft class of 2014 by, comes to KU on the heels of a recent off-the-field issue, but sources have indicated that he is facing no legal trouble. In early April, Harwell was arrested and charged with criminal damaging, theft and unauthorized use of a vehicle/vehicle trespass after an early-morning incident at an off-campus apartment. Harwell was suspended from all football-related activities by Miami coach Don Treadwell.

Those close to the KU program believe Harwell may be the missing piece for a Jayhawk passing game that struggled in 2012.

It is unclear whether Harwell, who is close to graduating thanks to a year of prep school in 2009, will be eligible for the upcoming season. KU officials said the following Wednesday night: “Nick Harwell’s eligibility is to be determined as the Compliance and Academic staff work through the process.”

Add another date

Although Wednesday’s Topeka appearance was scheduled to be the end of his preview party tour, Weis said he was in the process of trying to add an appearance in late June in Kansas City, Mo.

Nothing has been finalized yet, but Weis is targeting June 27 at The Dubliner in the Power and Light District as his ideal date and location.

Here they come

With more than half of the recruiting class of 2013 still yet to arrive, Weis said he did not expect any surprises in the coming weeks. He said half of the remaining group would report to campus the first week of June and the others would trickle in during the rest of the summer.

Weis on Wiggins

Not one to hide his passion for KU hoops, Weis was happy to share his initial reaction to the recent news that KU men’s basketball coach Bill Self had landed Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 prospect in the country.

“I talked to him 45 minutes beforehand,” Weis said of Self. “And he wasn’t feeling real good about his chances. Then I told him about when Manti (Teo) committed to me at Notre Dame. Everybody thought he was going to USC and then he announced and the place went berserk. I said, ‘You don’t know with a kid like this. We have no idea where he’s really going.’

“Right after he committed, I called (Self) and, of course, he didn’t answer. But I think you heard a ‘Yeah, baby!’ (on Self’s voicemail) but it was about 20 octaves up from right there.”


sokanhawk 11 months ago

Great addition to the team! I just hope he can get his summer classes finished by August, so he can graduate & be eligible for next season. I would love to have him and McCay for Heaps to throw to at WR!


Reuben_J_Cogburn 11 months ago jacket, green jacket, who gives a $%&#.


texashawk10 11 months ago

Guaranteed Charlie Weis did his homework on this kid before deciding to bring him in. KU is not in a position where they can afford to so picky as to turn down anybody that has had legal issues prior to their arrival at KU. If KU had the tradition of an OU or UT, then yes KU could afford to pass on a kid like this. If he does decide to act up again between now and the time he is scheduled to leave KU, then Weis always has the option to kick him off the team. Right now though, this is a player who can significantly help out Jake Heaps and the rest of the offense.


HAWKS1 11 months ago

I suspect Mr. Harwell will be on a very short leash and he knows that coming in. Coach Weiss is a disciplinarian and won't give him multiple opportunities. I think he is a great get and will help us tremendously, whether in 2013 or 2014. Now if he were transferring from The U, I would be extremely worried!! That would indicate a hardcore felon if he was suspended by the 'Canes! This little incident wouldn't even warrant a wrist slap or mention in the newspaper down there.


NebraskaJayhawk 11 months ago

I know this story is old news already, but I have to comment nonetheless. This pickup is exactly what this football team needed. A legitimately tested and proven playmaker in D1 football at WR. I really hope he is eligible to play this season. Way to go Charlie!


Bob Bailey 11 months ago

Too many criticize without reading the original news. What he really did was try to pick up his cap and gown before paying his girlfriend the rental. We had worse trouble back when one of our guys got angry with his ex-girl taking in a new boyfriend. The extra charges seem to have been added a bit early before anything sunk in.

It would be nice, for us, if he could take his final graduating classes at KU this summer and be eligible. Why can't any of you exercise a bit of patience?


JayHawkFanToo 11 months ago

The one thing that gives me pause is why Miami would let a player of that caliber go? Smaller programs, such as Miami, do not get this type of players often; the only way they do is when an unranked player develops big time while at the school, and I would think that Miami would try to hold on to him.
I wonder if there are other issues the coaching staff knows that are not public otherwise...I guess time will tell.


Tony Bandle 11 months ago


Do you want your university to have all choir boys on the team and never win or are you willing to give talented kids with baggage a second chance and win.

Frankly, if you don't win, nobody gives a damn about your reputation, anyway, because your reputation is YOU DON"T WIN!!


Joe Ross 11 months ago

Where do many of these athletes come from? The inner city, lower class. Yet we judge them by middle class, middle-America standards. These kids didn't grow up like many of you did. Look at Ben McLemore and many other stories such as his (Thomas Robinson, Morris twins, etc., etc.). Nick Harwell is from Houston. Fourth largest city in America. I don't know what his background was like, but there is the potential that he or people he grew up with had that inner city mentality. The reality is that every time you watch a collegiate basketball or football game, most of the kids on the team are from broken homes or in poverty.

Now then. That does not make incidents where is law is broken justifiable. But let's take a moment to talk about something else. Is it UNDERSTANDABLE (given their background)? What's the point of talking about this? Because we can learn to separate what a kid does from the kid himself and, more importantly, we can realize that if environment is influential, then the discipline and structure that comes from organized collegiate sports can actually remedy a negative social predisposition. Said another way, sports can socially rehabilitate these kids. The football field and basketball court may be the only hope they have to be reformed.

With this in mind, you give a kid some sort of penalty, yes. But for God's sake don't excommunicate them. Even some of you in your middle-class environments have had brushes with the law. Give these kids a break.


JakeBarnes 11 months ago

"if you get fired from your job, does the next job punish you for what you did too?"

It depends on the reasons you were fired and what the previous employer expected. Usually if the dismissal was just you pay in salary and benefits you might otherwise have gotten. Of course, I wouldn't hire anyone under these circumstances. I don't think you need to run a football program like I run my business. If I were KU football's counterpart in commerce I'd be bankrupt by now.


ccarp 11 months ago

Reads to me like it was the result of a bad break up. Doesn't sound like he put lives in danger or committed a felony. He sounds like a talented player and could benefit from a fresh start. I wouldn't put him in the category of OJ, Lawrence Phillips, or even JR Giddens. I trust coach Weis' judgement on this one.


vd 11 months ago

Simms has a few too many and gets 3 game suspension. This kid steals a car and gets hottly pursued by our coach. If he does become eligible, will he have any suspension, or do the team rules only effect non Weis recruits?


Reuben_J_Cogburn 11 months ago

Everytime I want to walk people give me a reason to refresh my fandom.

Honestly, I could care less about his off-the-field troubles. First of all, class is the last thing that should be on our minds in regards to football. We need fighters and a-holes to bring this thing back. If this kid can catch touchdowns and breathe....welcome aboard.

Secondly, Kansas is swiftly becoming Second Chance U. That doesn't just include players like Heaps and McCay, but Weis himself. If Harwell gets his crap together, he has a chance to redeem himself in a big way.

This is for you, Ralster: Stay the course. Keep the fatih. Rock Chalk


Al Martin 11 months ago

Lots of overreaction on both sides, but there seems to be a serious lack of reading comprehension from some of you who claim that the charges were dropped. They were not. Harwell pleaded guilty to the charge.

The relevant paragraph being:

"Also thrown into this story was that Harwell pleaded guilty earlier this month to a count of attempted theft and was given 90 days in jail, 89 of them suspended. So ... time served plus probation. There was no mention of him allegedly attempting to break into his girlfriend's residence, which was on the original police report."

He faces no more legal trouble because he was sentenced and served his sentence, not because the charges were frivolous or dropped.

I'm willing to trust Charlie's judgment, but just wanted to clear up a lot of misinformation in these comments.


s6u6r6f 11 months ago

I should hate that Kansas become known as a university of second chances. Student-athletes should not be allowed to make mistakes. And Lawrence Phillips? That's nothing. What about OJ!? He played football. Great! Now OJ's coming to KU! Rock chalk.


JHWKDW 11 months ago

I hope he is not a troublemaker! Have a very bad feeling about this one.I know no one is perfect. I know there have been players who made some mistakes before,I know, no is perfect, I know no one got hurt in this matter. Look there have players who had DUIs, I know Ive had my issues with that, but if no one gets hurt in that I can forgive in time, fights out, its a case by case situation in that matter, or anything else.Something about this guy sounds like a anger issue to me not some prank, or a bad 1 time lack of judgement thing.There are 3 separate, and serious things, not some little petty kinds of acts.

Does the name Lawrence Phillips come to mind? Yeah the guy from Nebraska, and the NFL thug. It does with me with this guy.Does not sound like 1 little mistake, some prank, or a misunderstanding .Sounds like the kid has freaking anger problems like Philips did.This Harwell did criminal damaging, theft and unauthorized use of a vehicle/vehicle trespass." This happened at an off campus apartment and somehow his ex-girlfriend was involved in the situation.If that ex GF had been there when he showed up, may have been a Lawrence Phillips kind of situation.

I like you HCCW, but not liking this choice. Hope you prove me wrong about this one, if it is a bad choice trust me you will hear about it.


russkie10 11 months ago

Excellent point, dagger108


Dirk Medema 11 months ago

Josh Williams was considered to be a problem child by some before being a lauded as an exemplary role model last year. I'm expecting similar off-field issues in this case and tons more production opposite McCay.


mikeowens 11 months ago

Usually, the big-school guy gets in trouble and leaves for a smaller school, not the other way around. Nothing paints a clearer picture of how down this program is right now than this transfer.

That said, if he is able to do what he needs to do, good get.


lawrenceloser 11 months ago

I'm sure Charlie laid down the law and only gives him one more chance.


oldalum 11 months ago

"Criminal history" and "players like this". Seems a little harsh. We have no idea what actually happened, and the article says he is facing NO legal difficulties. Charges must have been dropped or something along that line. I don't think we should be so judgmental without knowing all the facts.


BayPark 11 months ago

Do we really want to win this bad? I think in the long run it's a mistake to take players like this.


Bryce Landon 11 months, 1 week ago

At this point, we'll take what we can get, but given Weis' disciplinary tactics, is it really wise of him to be bringing someone on board with his kind of criminal history? I got the impression Weis wasn't going to put up with such nonsense.

On another note, it is good to see Weis sharing in Self's joy on landing Wiggins.


VaJay 11 months, 1 week ago

This is HUGE if he can play next season and as Boouk says - keep out of trouble.

What a PICKUP for the KU Football team!!

I like our chances a lot of breaking the streak of games with no TD passes to a WR. If Harwell's playing, we make everyone forget the streak ever existed!

Rock Chalk!! What a week it's been for KU athletics!


Mixolydian 11 months, 1 week ago

CJ Online is reporting that if he graduates this year and enrolls in a KU graduate program that Miami doesn't offer he'll be immediately eligible to play.


Boouk 11 months, 1 week ago

This seems like a great addition if the kid will stay out of trouble off the field.


Jason Keller 11 months, 1 week ago

Oh god, the article police are back again... What is wrong with you people? Matt doesn't come to where you work and throw rocks at you while you're mowing. They're just trying to get the info out as fast as possible. If he had waited til tomorrow when he had more information, you people would have complained because you saw it first on ESPN or some recruiting site...

In fairness though, Matt, when you have what many would consider a dream job, and you do, you kind of are expected to just let the fact that we have to work real jobs while you get to hang around KU athletics all day be enough to just let comments like this roll.


KGphoto 11 months, 1 week ago

Love this. Undoubtedly Weis has already had a “sit-down” with him. If Weis wasn’t happy with what he heard, the kid wouldn’t be here. I have no reason to doubt that.

Welcome Nick. KU’s a great place to learn all types of things. Focus on whatever coach tells you to focus on, and you’ll do well.


Ralster Jayhawk 11 months, 1 week ago

Keep your nose clean. Catch anything remotely in the same zip code (wont be an issue with Heaps as gunslinger...), and put up gonzo YAC numbers. Make people miss. All the stuff NFL scouts love in a WR...Oh, and TDs are part of the expectations by everybody associated with KU football in any way, shape, or form, past or present...(hehe).


79ictjhawk 11 months, 1 week ago

April 5, 2013 from the Miami Student News:

Miami University football Head Coach Don Treadwell has suspended rising senior wide receiver Nick Harwell from the team as a result of the Oxford Police Department’s (OPD) recent charges against him. “He is currently suspended from all football team related activities,” Treadwell said. “And that is kind of it in a nutshell… [It is] indefinite right now until further notice.” OPD charged Harwell with vehicular trespass, unauthorized use of a vehicle, criminal damaging and theft, according to the police report. The charges were filed after Harwell kicked down a door at Miami Commons and stole a cap and gown from a car early Saturday morning, according to OPD. Harwell has a year of eligibility remaining on the football field.

Hopefully he's learned from this & KU will be a fresh start for him.


Matt Tait 11 months, 1 week ago

It's unclear at this time whether he'll be eligible immediately or not. I know it's an option and they're working on it. They're also going to let me know ASAP so stay tuned to the site and this story for updates...

Either way, bringing this kind of talent to KU is good for the program.


Tad Shurtz 11 months, 1 week ago

Is this kid actually eligible to play next season? Reading up on him, I don't get the impression that he's a Miami (OH) graduate. Therefore, he'd have to sit a year.


fearthephog512 11 months, 1 week ago

Got some weapons on offense this year!


mcrckchlk 11 months, 1 week ago

This crop of recruits for next year is starting to look real good...


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