N’Keal Harry is the Newcomer of the Year who played more like a veteran.
As a freshman, he not only kept up with Arizona State’s seniors, but also became one of the team’s biggest stars. Harry was ranked as the No. 1 player in Arizona in high school and was certainly Arizona’s best freshman college football player. He was one of only six true-freshman to earn All-Conference Honor’s and one of two ASU football players to receive a Pac-12 Honorable Mention.
Senior Tim White emerged as the Sun Devils’ lead receiver with 713 yards, while the newcomer was just 54 yards behind him at 659. But in the last five games of the season Harry averaged 78.6 yards per game and White averaged just 37.6.
The upper and lowerclassmen wideouts battled it out all season long. In the end, the freshman had fewer yards, but scored more touchdowns (five to White’s two) and finished eighth in the Pac-12 in receptions per game (4.8), while White finished ninth (4.7).
With White and senior Fredrick Gammage, Arizona State’s fourth most targeted receiver, gone next season, Harry will the best wide out the Sun Devils have to offer. And possibly one of the nation’s best.
Could this mean...Heisman?
Well, not exactly. But Harry has big shoes to fill and can put up big numbers.
Just three wide receivers have won the Heisman Trophy since it was created in 1935. The last one to win it was Michigan’s Desmond Howard in his junior season in 1991.
That year, in 62 receptions, Howard had 985 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns, leading the Wolverines to the Rose Bowl in the process.
In Harry’s senior year at Chandler High School, the receiver had 802 receiving yards on 48 catches, leading the Wolves to the state championship semifinals.
Because Harry will be the team’s best wide receiver, expect him to shine, and be even more effective if the Maroon and Gold stick to just one or two quarterbacks next season, rather than juggling three like they did in 2016.
The arrival of this man should help.
The already Tempe-star (at least on Twitter), Alabama transfer Blake Barnett will be eligible to play at quarterback after the fourth game of the season in 2017.
Barnett, who was a five-star recruit in 2015, will be slinging footballs to Harry in no-time, and the two might become the dynamic duo that’ll give Arizona State a shot at its first Pac-12 title since 2007.