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.


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.”


Phil Leister 5 years 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.

Kman_blue 5 years ago

Word from people supposedly "in the know" at Miami(OH) is that he graduated and he's free to play without sitting out, but he still has to resolve issues with the school stemming from their disciplinary action against him. That's why he won't get here until August when that is hopefully resolved. At least that's what Miami(OH) "insiders" are saying.

Tim Orel 5 years 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.

Marc Frey 5 years ago

Every other story has said he will play this fall, if legal issues do not come back to haunt him,

texashawk10 5 years ago

It hasn't been cleared up because it is not known one way or the other yet whether he'll be able to play next season.

BringBackMark 5 years 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.

Kman_blue 5 years ago

I doubt very much that coach Weis would waste his time and a scholarship on a 5th year guy who will never see the field.

BringBackMark 5 years ago

Crist played but I'm not too sure he ever saw the field!

Boouk 5 years ago

There's no way he gets drafted without another productive year in college.

texashawk10 5 years ago

If your theory was true, there's one huge flaw in it. He would be eligible for the supplemental draft this season and wouldn't have to wait a year to try and make the NFL.

kellerman411 5 years 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.

stahlin 5 years ago

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

Michael Pannacciulli 5 years ago

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

Matt Tait 5 years ago

Hoping, sure. But not even Jake knows if Harwell will actually be out there or not.

If I'm betting on it, I think the chances are good that he'll be able to play, but you never know with the NCAA...

texashawk10 5 years ago

Matt, how will Harwell finish his degree because according to this article, he's no longer enrolled at Miami and lost an appeal to finish up his undergrad classes there.

Jeffery Barrett 5 years ago

There has to a school somewhere that he can take classes at this summer to finish his degree. That's got to be the reason he's not going to be at KU until Aug.

Jim Stauffer 5 years 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.

lv_jhwk 5 years 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).

Jim Jackson 5 years ago

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

Rock Chalk, can't wait to go bowling.

Boouk 5 years 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.

Jim Jackson 5 years ago

That is nuts, had no idea he put up those kind of numbers against OSU

VaJay 5 years 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?

Jonathan Briles 5 years ago

Jayhawker28 told a little about what is coming, but left one out. Ishmael Hyman will also be here this summer and in 2011 he averaged about 32 yards per reception and had 10 TD's in only 29 catches. He also had 2 kickoff returns for TD's. Rod Coleman is very underrated and under recruited because it was seen as a foregone conclusion that he would go to Cincy. We just happened to sneak him away. All three of these guys have good speed and hands. We will have to wait to see if they transition well into the Big 12 though.

Jim Jackson 5 years 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.

Dirk Medema 5 years ago

Plus HS Ishmael Hyman, #82 WR, 6'0'', 170, ESPN Rating 78 (;_ylt=Arxo95EfzQ1hNmpqcwIKIfxDPZB4)

Could probably benefit from a year in the weight room (RS), but if others don't step up, it appears that he also has the talent to contribute early.

kellerman411 5 years ago

I wish his name was Rod Tidwell...

"SHOW! ME! THE MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!"

KGphoto 5 years 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. : )

kellerman411 5 years 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)

Jeremy Hays 5 years ago

I have read all his reports. I don't know the kid and have no insight but from what I read and from what I saw. He got into a fight with ex-girlfriend over stuff that was "his" (allegedly). I don't like the way Sussman made it sound like he was convict and should have been charged with more. (maybe he should have from stuff we don't know but how one sided are those articles!!!) I hope he comes here plays a great one year and is able to move on and learn from this.

JayHawkFanToo 5 years ago

jayhawk_4_life2. This not how I read the linked report. Sussman reported about the appeal process being exhausted and as an afterthought the fact the he had been convicted of attempted theft (he was) and that the final plea did not include breaking and entering his girlfriend's apartment, as stated in the original police report (also true). I did not think the writer made it sound like he should have been charged with more, as you stated. I guess we just see it differently and we just agree to disagree.

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