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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Charlie Weis: Harwell led even as he sat out

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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There will come a day when the questions people ask about Kansas University wide receiver Nick Harwell are focused solely on whether he can catch the football and make plays on the field.

Today, however, the more important aspect of the former Miami (Ohio) University standout who transferred to KU and sat out the 2013 season might be how he fit in with his new teammates despite not being able to play a down during the 2013 season.

The answer, according to KU coach Charlie Weis, was favorable for the Jayhawks.

“He’s on people in the weight room,” said Weis, pressed for support to his claim. “He’s on people when we run sprints at the end of practice. If somebody is not running hard at the end of practice, you would think that one of the guys playing would be saying something. You’d hear Harwell chirping all the time, ‘Just shut the hell up and get going.’ And that’s when he wasn’t playing. Imagine when he is. I’m looking forward to it.”

As has become customary for the KU football program during recent years, the beginning of a new offseason brings with it the chance for Harwell to become a full-functioning member of the team. No more working with the scout team while the regulars practice. No more deferring to other on-the-field leaders when something needs to be said. Harwell has free rein to be involved in all of that now, and Weis believes the 6-foot-1, 193-pound wideout who never caught fewer than 62 passes during his three seasons at Miaim (Ohio) is more than ready.

A year ago, KU had automatic leadership waiting in the wings in the form of quarterback Jake Heaps, a BYU transfer, who, like Harwell in 2013, had to sit out the 2012 season. Heaps’ leadership role came easily because of his position, but Weis believes Harwell can have the same impact.

“When you have a guy like that, it brings everyone’s game up,” Weis said. “When he’s down on the show-team field, it’s a different type of deal. Like when we go one-on-one last year against the secondary, we would always keep Harwell out for one-on-one. He was clearly our best guy. It wasn’t close for second. They’d all see that. He’s one of them now. ... I’m really looking forward to Harwell.”

As was the case last spring when Weis first recruited Harwell, a fifth-year senior with one year of eligibility remaining, the third-year KU coach believes the three-time all-conference receiver immediately will upgrade KU’s receiving corps.

“The outside guy opposite of Harwell (is yet) to be determined,” said Weis, suggesting that plenty of playing time was available for play-makers. “It could be (a juco recruit). It also could be guys that are sitting right here that just play a hell of a lot better.”

Names on that list include seniors-to-be Justin McCay (9 receptions for 84 yards and 1 touchdown), Rodriguez Coleman (8, 208, 1) and Andrew Turzilli (7, 167, 1), junior-to-be Tre’ Parmalee (9, 74, 0) and newcomers Mark Thomas (2013 red-shirt) and Ishmael Hyman (2013 red-shirt), along with Class of 2014 commitments Bobby Hartzog and Tyler Patrick.

Comments

Erich Hartmann 3 months ago

Harwell on 1 side, Pierson on the other--> both are proven at the college level as WRs. Dont know about Ishmael Hyman or Mark Thomas.

Turzilli needs to go to Div.3 school, but not as a WR. Dude cannot catch. He failed at the precise moments his team and QB needed him the most. I'd like to hire a KSUfattie cheerleader to sew "waterboy" on a jersey, then hand it to Turzilli for his new role. So sick of the WR drops x 2 seasons now...

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Terry N Tom Denner 3 months ago

Next season will be a huge improvement on Offense. More balls caught and huge holes for Sim's and the other running backs to chew up the yards. Have the faith KU fans, 8-4 season coming to u next year !! ROCK CHALK JAY HAWKS GO KU !!

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Brett McCabe 3 months ago

Significant difference in Harwell's credentials in regards to expectations on the field, so the article has some legitimacy. However, I don't think that anyone expects KU fans to buy-in on any off-season news unless there is a steady stream of almost irrefutable good things going on - which there are not.

Reagan should help the offense, as should Harwell. We have good RB's back, so we need to see if the offensive line play can improve and, obviously, the QB play.

Unfortunately, through brain-dead scheduling, we've added Duke to the schedule in a year when we have 5 away games in conference. If anyone is wondering how to keep a program floundering, just look at our recent scheduling announcements.

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Dan Spurgin 3 months ago

Lucy sets the football on the tee. "I swear Charlie Brown, I won't pull the ball away this time. Go ahead. Kick it!"

Charlie Brown = KU Football Fans.
Lucy = KU Football + offseason LJW articles

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Robert Brock 3 months ago

What a receiving corp - none of our returning receivers caught 10 passes last season. Simply amazing!

Harwell will be our Designated Receiver...

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Tyler Fox 3 months ago

All of the season totals for the wide-outs would be considered good single game performances for most other starting Division 1 wide-outs.

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Glen Miller 3 months ago

Honestly every off season we hear this great story about how a guy who had to sit out or transferred in is such a great leader and he works hard and he is gonna do this or that..... then the season starts and all the hype amounts to about the same production on the field as the waterboy. I am curbing my enthusiasm until the guy actually catches balls instead of dropping them, makes plays on gameday and not just in practice, and proves that for once a transfer is actually going to provide us with a better option than we had last year. You can bark at the guys and provide "leadership" all you want. I played with guys that did all that and couldn't hold their weight in water on the field. I preferred to go out and execute and let my play do the talking. I hope that we do a lot more talking this year on the field, and a little less off of it.

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Jim Erickson 3 months ago

This should be a good year. We have a ton of guys returning which should translate to an improved team. The program may have slightly improved since he got here, but year 3 in the Weis era, with the most talented team he has had, has to see a dramatic step forward.

If that doesn't happen, I wonder if Mangino wants his old job back? :)

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Jim Erickson 3 months ago

Harwell and a hopefully improved McCay could be a real difference maker for the offense. Had Heaps had a capable guy to throw to last year, things would have looked a lot better for him.

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