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Monday, May 27, 2013

WR transfer bolsters hopes for improved KU pass offense

Former Miami of Ohio receiver Nick Harwell (8) shakes off the tackle of Middle Tennessee defender Rod Issac (6) in the first quarter of the GoDaddy.Com Bowl NCAA college football game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011.

Former Miami of Ohio receiver Nick Harwell (8) shakes off the tackle of Middle Tennessee defender Rod Issac (6) in the first quarter of the GoDaddy.Com Bowl NCAA college football game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011.

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Kansas University quarterback Jake Heaps knows the importance of having a number of weapons at the wide receiver position which he can trust to make plays and come through in the clutch.

Perhaps that’s the reason Heaps, a junior who is expected to start for the Jayhawks this fall after sitting out last season following a transfer from BYU, was so excited last Wednesday when the news broke about the addition of Miami of Ohio wide receiver Nick Harwell to the KU offense.

Heaps did not share his joy during a news conference nor reveal it in some sort of university press release announcing the pick up. Instead, the former five-star QB made his feelings known via Twitter with a couple of quick and pointed tweets.

Responding to one take, which suggested that the news of Harwell’s addition sounded big, Heaps confirmed as much with the following: “‘Cause it is.”

He then followed that up by asking the KU fan base to go follow “the newest member of the family.”

It makes sense that Heaps would be excited about Harwell coming aboard. The 6-foot-1, 193-pound senior-to-be, who has been clocked in the 4.5-second range in the 40-yard dash and bench presses 310 pounds in the weight room, brings to KU the presence of a wide receiver who has been there and done that.

Harwell represents a significant upgrade at the position for the Jayhawks. The most accomplished and experienced wideout on KU’s two-deep depth chart before Wednesday was junior Andrew Turzilli, who, in two seasons, had hauled in 20 receptions for 324 yards and a touchdown in 15 career games. Harwell has the look of a big, athletic possession-type receiver KU’s receiving corps was missing, a guy who can go over the middle, work in space and stretch the field. Perhaps more importantly, he appears to be the ideal complement for the varying skills of guys like spring game star Justin McCay, junior tight end Jimmay Mundine and emerging receiving threat Tony Pierson.

In three years at Miami, Harwell racked up 3,166 yards and 23 touchdowns on 229 receptions while accounting for 96 yards per game. During that same time period, from 2010 to 2012, all of KU’s wide receivers combined tallied just 513 yards more (3,679) and seven fewer touchdowns despite snagging 110 more receptions.

It’s not that Harwell will be replacing any of the KU wide receivers. Instead, he likely will be enhancing an offense with the potential to feature a dangerous passing attack. Heaps liked the look of KU’s passing game before Harwell joined the squad.

“It’s been fun to see that competition and that progression within the wide receiver group,” the quarterback said this spring. “We’re gonna get a couple more guys here in the summer and that’ll add to the competition. It’ll be fun.”

Now that Harwell has become one of those summer arrivals, it’s safe to say Heaps likes his targets even more.

“A lot of catches have gone and those were good players who had been here a while,” added Heaps referring to KU’s recent graduates. “But I think it’s great for us to get some new blood, increase the competition and let these guys have an opportunity to compete for a spot.”

Comments

KMathis 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The word on the street... is that his legal troubles revolve around his relationship with a gay faculty member.

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Jason Keller 10 months, 3 weeks ago

"It's a sad end to a bad situation, but I can't help but see the irony that Harwell won't graduate from Miami after stealing a cap and gown out of his ex-girlfriend's car."

  • Matt Sussman (SB Nation)

http://www.hustlebelt.com/2013/5/17/4340598/nick-harwell-miami-no-longer-enrolled

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KGphoto 10 months, 3 weeks ago

In every highlight I’ve seen of this guy, Dysert takes the snap and stares at him until the time is right. It seems he’s the 1st, 2nd and 3rd option. Only way a QB gets that comfy staring down a receiver is if he is always open. : )

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Jim Jackson 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Mark Thomas, who had and offer from Syracuse and was recruited hard by WVU; he's about 6'1 200 lbs, I believe.

Rod Coleman who was in the JUCO 100; 6'3 190.

Things are looking good.

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VaJay 10 months, 3 weeks ago

“We’re gonna get a couple more guys here in the summer and that’ll add to the competition. It’ll be fun.”

Sorry, but in all the excitement, I've lost track of who else is coming in to strengthen the receiver corps. Can someone tell me who & why they're supposed to be good?

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Boouk 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Harwell had over 200 receiving yards in their game at Ohio St. last year. He'll be a huge upgrade if he stays out of trouble off the field and learns the offense.

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Jim Jackson 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Tait, any insite to his eligibilty would be much appreciated.

Rock Chalk, can't wait to go bowling.

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lv_jhwk 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Just another guy without definitive sources, but from some things I've come across its mu understanding that he was still able to stay in school and complete his coursework. The issue is that Miami is choosing to withhold his actual diploma, so the issue becomes whether that is necessary for him to begin grad classes at KU (meaning he woud likely have to wait) or if the completion of coursework is sufficient (he can play now).

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Jim Stauffer 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I believe it has been stated he has classes to finish in order to graduate. It will probably be Fall before we know for sure.

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Michael Pannacciulli 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Seems like Heaps thinks he will be playing next year? Am I reading into it incorrectly? Matt?

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stahlin 10 months, 3 weeks ago

great article tait, I cant wait to see this guy in blue

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Jason Keller 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Receiver is a position that typically can convert pretty well from Juco to D1 so I actually was already excited about the guys coming in. Hope this guy can play but not getting my hopes up.

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BringBackMark 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The article says "senior-to-be". Also, since he was kicked off the team at Miami of Ohio I imagine he's just trying to fill time until he gets a shot at the NFL. Don't be surprised if we never see him on the field.

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coloradojayhawk 10 months, 3 weeks ago

It's a big point that these articles haven't cleared up whether he can immediately play or if he has to sit a year. Even laying out the various scenarios (he's graduated this month, he's working on taking more classes from them so he can graduate this summer, or he's taking classes at KU that will allow him to graduate) whatever the scenario is would be helpful. I think it sounded from an earlier article that he isn't in school at Miami so I would think he's not coming with his degree in hand (and thus, he'll have to sit out a year). But I don't know.

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Phil Leister 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Gotta ask, any updates about Harwell's academic standing? Is he on track to graduate from Miami OH? It's gonna be a huge bummer if he has to sit out next year.

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