Star 2014 Defensive Standout T.J. Harrell Says Spartans are #1 on his List as Signing Day Approaches
He hasn’t made his decision quite yet, but defensive back T.J. Harrell out of Tampa Bay Catholic High School is a BIG fan of the Spartans.
On February 5th, national signing day, Harrell will finally announce where he has decided to play his college football. Until then though, Spartans everywhere should keep their fingers crossed because this guy is the real deal.
As one of the top defensive recruits in the nation, Harrell has caught the attention of just about everyone due to his phenomenal abilities on the field and his class and humility off the field.
A hunting, fishing, and wild game enthusiast like his “red neck brother from another mother” Hondo Carpenter, T.J. told Spartan Nation Radio that MSU currently “is number one” on his list of potential schools.
Part of what has distinguished Michigan State from the 30 odd programs vying for Harrell’s services next fall is the opportunity to play under the top defensive coordinator in the country, Pat Narduzzi. Harrell told Spartan Nation that Dantonio and Narduzzi, “See me starting at S, but possibly moving up to STAR linebacker later in my career.”
During his interview on Spartan Nation Radio, Harrell referred to Narduzzi as “the most intelligent coach” he has ever been around.” Instead of just “throwing blitzes out there or putting you different coverage’s just to test stuff out”, Narduzzi and his defensive staff “know what they are doing and they are coming at you full speed.”
Simply put, Harrell says he’s eager “to be a part of something like that.”
Despite all the hype surrounding his recruitment, Harrell has found a way to remain grounded. T.J. credits his parents, coaches, teachers, and friends for instilling in him an understanding that football is only a single aspect of his life and, therefore, should not dominate everything else.
“Football” he acknowledges, “is going to lead me to do things God wants me to do best.”
Regardless of all the publicity surrounding football, Harrell appreciates the true meaning of being a STUDENT athlete. Football may be a part of what he does, but it does not define who he is, noting that while at school, the “books are number one, you go to college to get your degree.”
T.J. is acutely aware of the many sacrifices his parents made in order for him to be where he is today, attributing the many opportunities now in front of him to their hard work, devotion, and unconditional love.
In particular, Harrell recognizes the influence his father has had on his success in life. “My dad is the reason I am in this situation”, continuing, “he is the reason I work my butt of every single day, in the classroom and on the field. Everything I do, my dad has been the motive, and he’s been the reason.”
Everyone associated with T.J. are truly proud of him for all his hard work and for his integrity as a young man. No matter where he chooses to attend school, T.J., and Hondo share a serious love of the outdoors and hunting and someday when his NCAA eligibility is over with don’t be shocked if those two end up bear hunting together!