Varsity Preps

#62 in Elite 101 in FL, 2014 ATH T.J. Harrell

2014 ATH T.J. Harrell (6’0, 210, 4.4/40) of Tampa Catholic in Tampa, Florida currently holds 38 offers: Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Tennessee, UCLA, Kentucky, Mississippi State, and Michigan State to name a few.

Harrell went on a bus tour this summer which included visits to Clemson, Tennessee, Louisville, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt. He talked about what stood out about each program.

Clemson: “It was big. The staff was telling me how I could fit into their system for the next 3-5 years. The staff is recruiting me hard and I like them very much.”

Tennessee: “It was really nice with flashy things and nice facilities. I enjoyed my time there.”

Louisville: “The Cardinals made a real impression on me. I really like the coaching staff and my visit was freaking awesome.”

Kentucky: “With Coach Scott being my cousin, he did everything he could to show everything to me in the hour and a half I was there. I saw the weight room and in the short amount of time I was there, UK has a lot to offer.”

Vanderbilt: “Honestly, the visit didn’t impress me all that much.”

Harrell told Varsity Preps more about what Kentucky and Coach Scott is telling him. “He keeps it real, he doesn’t sugarcoat anything. Kentucky offered me as a RB at first, then as a safety, which impressed me,” he said. “I’m being recruited as a safety to Kentucky, but I can play as FS, SS, LB and CB. I like being a defensive athlete.”

He discussed who is recruiting him the hardest, naming a Top 5. “My Top 5 is Florida State, Louisville, Kentucky, West Virginia and Texas Tech. I’d say my Top 3 is Florida State, Louisville and Kentucky in no particular order.”

Here is what he told Varsity Preps on what stands out for this top 3 schools over other programs.

Florida State: “It’s nice, they offered me as a running back. If several running backs have a good year, they’re gone. They don’t have extraordinary depth and it’s a program in which I could make an early impact.”

Louisville: “I like them a lot. The reason I like them is I have a little league friend there and tells me how everything is,” he said. “Who wouldn’t play for a guy like head coach Charlie Strong? It was an honor meeting him and shaking his hand. I really see Louisville as a upcoming program.”

Kentucky: “I could come in and play early. That’s big for me. Early playing time is something I’m looking at. Coach Stoops puts a lot of DB’s in the league. He made his mark at Florida State with putting kids in the league. I like that a lot.

“I saw the 2013 and 2014 class that Kentucky is bringing in. It was full of hungry kids wanting to win the SEC championship. What attracts me to Kentucky is I don’t want to play for a program that’s already up like Alabama and LSU. I want to go to program where you have to earn it and have something to work for. I want to play for a program that’s tired of losing and hungry to win. I want to play on a team that plays with a chip on their shoulder.”

The senior standout has been working this summer to elevate his game and take it to another level. “I’ve been working on my strength and hips for the running back position. I also worked on technique because of being a tall RB, I have to work on staying low.”

Harrell is in no hurry to make a decision. He may decide at the All-American Game or wait until National Signing Day.



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