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.


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.


Jim Erickson 4 years, 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.

Jim Erickson 4 years, 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? :)

Glen Miller 4 years, 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.

John Miller 4 years, 3 months ago

I agree 100% I am sick and tired of hearing how great these transfers are, when in the end they are just someone nobody else wanted

Mark Lindrud 4 years, 3 months ago

Last season I drank the Kool-Aid as did quite a few of us. Now, show me. 5-6 wins must happen or this next season and the growth of this program is a bust. No more excuses about having receivers that can't catch, a line that can't block and quarterback issues. This is year 3 and true progress must be made as opposed to minimal improvement that hasn't equated to much in the win column.

Joe Ross 4 years, 3 months ago

Im with you, Glen. Im sorry to say, but performance on the field is now required to prime the pump of my credibility. I hope Harwell is legit, but I wont believe it until I see it.

Aaron Paisley 4 years, 3 months ago

Harwell is the leading receiver in Miami (OH) history. The man has done it at the D1 level against D1 talent. The bigger question is can someone else step up so that Harwell isn't double teamed all day long.

Ashtin Meerpohl 4 years, 3 months ago

The difference with Harwell is that he transferred because of off the field issues, all the other guys that Weis has brought in via transfer has ended up at Kansas because they weren't good enough to play at their original school and wanted another opportunity to play. Harwell was a standout every year he was at Miami (OH) and needed a change of scenery to help him stay out of trouble. I think he's got a much better chance to be successful than the other Weis transfers.

Tyler Fox 4 years, 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.

Robert Brock 4 years, 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...

Dan Spurgin 4 years, 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

Dirk Medema 4 years, 3 months ago

Duke is a return game from years ago - 2009, pre-Big12 non-div scheduling.

Terry N Tom Denner 4 years, 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 !!

Erich Hartmann 4 years, 3 months ago

Sims is gone, sir. Graduated. Your RB's are Taylor Cox, Brandon Bourbon, Darrian Miller, and RB/WR Tony Pierson.

Terry N Tom Denner 4 years, 3 months ago

My bad !! Sims is gone. Treavohn Wrench the 4 star RB from Gardner Ks should be able to do just as good as Sim or maybe better. if that Juco RB comes to KU and proves he has what it takes to run the ball in Division l college football it will be an interesting season to watch.

Erich Hartmann 4 years, 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...

Terry N Tom Denner 4 years, 3 months ago

Turn Turzilli into a CB. If he is unable to catch a ball then he can but his big hands out and deflect them from the receiver.

Erich Hartmann 4 years, 3 months ago

Denner, thats a good idea. But when I look at pictures of Turzilli in-action, I have a hard time seeing any hands...

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