WASHINGTON – The coaches at Nichols Harbor believe it’s unwise to compare him to any other high school athlete in America – and, frankly, unfair to other kids.
Instead, Archbishop Carroll High School football coach Robert Harris mentioned Harbor in the same breath as professional stars, while comparing the 17-year-old’s physical attributes to the ingredients in a pot of gumbo — here’s Usain Bolt and Calvin Johnson. One dash, Derrick Brooks of Bits and Von Miller there.
“I’ll probably throw a little Randy Moss in there,” Harris continues. “And we could potentially have (Harbor) capability in the future.”
hyperbolic? Sure. But Harbor is the rare athlete who might even invite such comparisons.
At 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds, he has the size of an NFL edge rusher and the speed of a potential Olympic sprinter. In football, he is a five-star recruit who plays on both sides of the ball, with 47 tackles and 10 touchdown catches over the past two seasons. In track, he ran the 100 meters in 10.22 seconds – the seventh fastest under-18 race in the world this year, according to World Athletics.
“He’s truly one of the most unique prospects we’ve seen in Rivals history, which began in 2002,” said Adam Gorney, national recruiting director of Rivals and Yahoo! game. “There aren’t many athletes anywhere near his level.”
A clip of Harbor on the track went viral on social media earlier this yearShowing him sprinting past fellow sprinters at a meet in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina — and uphill.
Recently, headlines about him have centered around his football recruiting.
Typically viewed as a tight end or defensive end in college, Harbor is one of the top undrafted 2023 prospects in the country, with Maryland, Michigan and South Carolina top schools vying for his commitment. According to Rivals, he has 46 Division I scholarship offers.
Harbor said he thought about turning pro in track, but instead planned to run and play football in college with the NFL and possible Olympic qualification in the back of his mind.
“My goal overall is to at least make it to the Olympics and win a medal,” Harbor said. “A gold medal would be nice.”
Dual-sport athletes in football and track are hardly uncommon, and many men have competed professionally in both. For example, Renaldo Nehemiah set the world record in hurling and played three years in the NFL. NFL wideout Marquis Goodwin competed in the 2012 Olympics in the long jump. Devon Allen, another hurdler, has spent this season on the Philadelphia Eagles’ practice squad after finishing fourth in Tokyo.
What separates Harbor from those two-sport phenoms, according to Archbishop Carroll track coach Rafiu Bakare, is his size.
With more than six months to go until his 18th birthday, Harbor is already the same size as Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf, but faster. (Metcalf, for context, ran a 4.33-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.)
Bakre said of Harbour, “He creates a category of his own.” “When it comes to fast twitch and this size, he is on his own. He is on his own right now.
Harbor figures that he was 8 years old when he first noticed his own unique athleticism, namely that he was faster than everyone around him. A growth spurt in eighth grade — from 5 feet 8 to 6 feet 2 — ensured that he would be taller than nearly everyone else.
The son of Nigerian-American professional soccer player Azuka “Gene” Harbor, Nyckoles said that competing in soccer and track—as well as the transition period between them—always felt natural to him. His body is used to the weight change. During football season, he said he would bulk up to 230 or 235 pounds. By the end of track season, he could be as light as a 220.
Over the years, Harbor’s coaches said they’ve seen many trying to push people toward one sport or the other. But he’s never wanted to be the expert, so instead, they help him find a balance—meeting regularly about scheduling and training to avoid potential conflicts.
Harris said, “I laugh when people try to form their opinion and then make it reality, because it’s not the person you do that to.” “Whatever he wants to do, I think he can accomplish.”
At Archbishop Carroll, he has been a force in both sports.
As a sprinter, Harbor’s personal bests are in the same ballpark as high-school times recorded by current Team USA athletes. The 100 is his favorite event, but he also ran an indoor 200m dash earlier this year in 20.79 seconds – without using the starting blocks. (His PR in the 200 is 20.63.)
Meanwhile, in football, he helped lead Archbishop Carroll to a rare Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Metro Division title. In game one, Harbor caught five passes for 251 yards and three scores on offense. In another, the opposing team assigned three players to block him on defense.
Gorney, Rivals’ recruiting director, said that Harbor still had plenty of room to grow on the football field, but that his mediocrity made it “almost a guarantee” that he would be in the mix for a first-round NFL draft pick. may be in the form
“This is someone who, if he goes to the combine, he’s just going to set records,” Gorney said. “There’s nothing to think he won’t do. He’s going to blow people away.
First, though, is college. Harbor has made official visits to a handful of schools over the past month and does not plan to sign a national letter of intent during the early signing period, which begins Wednesday. “Feb. 1st is when everyone will know where I’m going,” he said.
While Harbor’s recruiting focus has been on football, he is also looking at each school’s track programs and coaches. Eventually, something has to give between the two sports. Adding or subtracting weight to excel in one will start to harm the harbor in the other.
“At the end of the day, my body will tell me which way to go,” he said. “If going back and forth in weight sometimes is too much, I have to choose.
“Sooner or later, I have to choose.”
Contact Tom Shad at [email protected] or on twitter @Tom_Schad,