You may have heard the name Nick Harwell crop up in press coverage about this year’s group of top Big 12 wide receivers from whom much is expected in the 2014 college football season. Harwell is a senior playing at Kansas, which begs the questions: Who is he and where has he been?
Head coach Charlie Weis has had very little to cheer about in his two seasons at Kansas. The Jayhawks have won just one conference games and have an overall record of 4-20 in two seasons under Weis. A big reason for that was the lack of consistency on offense and the virtual nonexistence of a passing game.
The Jayhawks have thrown the fewest number of passes and gained the fewest passing yards in the conference in each of the last two seasons. Senior Tony Pierson led the team in pass receiving in 2013 with 77 catches, nearly half of the Jayhawks’ total for the season.
That should change in 2014 because of the addition of Harwell, who played for three seasons at Miami of Ohio and transferred to Kansas following the 2012 season.
Harwell has caught 60 or more passes in each of his three college seasons. He had a breakout season in 2012, his sophomore year, when he made a team-high 97 receptions for 1,425 yards and nine receiving touchdowns for the Redhawks. His pass-receiving production dropped off slightly his junior year in 2012. He was out three games because of a knee injury, but still caught 68 passes for 870 yards and eight TDs.
Weis likes his changes a whole lot better having Harwell in the passing game this season. Here is what the KU coach had to say about his new wide receiver at Big 12 Media Days recently:
“Anytime you can plug in a No. 1 wide receiver that’s already been playing…it puts a whole different composition to your wide receiver position.”
According to published reports, Harwell was dismissed from the school in the spring of his junior year because of a series of off-field issues, including a misdemeanor charge for attempted theft in an incident involving a former girlfriend. That resulted in his transfer to Kansas, where he sat out last season serving as a member of the Jayhawks’ scout team.