Kathleen's Harrison Commits to Virginia Tech
Wed. July 18, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. | By Solange Reyner
(Photo by Kathleen High School Football Staff)
By SOLANGE REYNER
LAKELAND | Ja’Von Harrison is a standout wide receiver at Kathleen.
He runs routes well, has speed and good hands. For two more years, Harrison will get to hone his skills on offense for the Red Devils and, in a way, that experience will help prepare him for his future role in the secondary at Virginia Tech, the Atlantic Coast Conference program he committed to early Wednesday morning.
“He goes against a DB every day so as a receiver you tend to pick up on the db’s techniques, responsibilities,” Kathleen coach Irving Strickland said. “He’s going to have to put some work into it but Virginia Tech saw skills in him that you can’t coach.”
Like the first time Harrison played in the secondary for Kathleen. It was against Lakeland and his assignment was to cover Ricquan Southward, who will be a freshman at Ohio State this upcoming year.
While covering Southward, Harrison held him to one reception.
“We just told him to stay with him wherever he went,” Strickland said. “At one point he turned and looked for the ball after Southward did. We didn’t coach him to do that. He just picked up on it.”
Harrison, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound rising junior, also had an offer from the University of Michigan and the University of Massachusetts but decided to commit to Virginia Tech early after he enjoyed his unofficial visit to Blacksburg, Va., this weekend.
“It’s basically like home. It’s a quiet area and a small city,” Harrison said.
The program's focus on academics was also important, said Harrison, who plans to major in engineering or sports medicine. Strickland said the football players at Virginia Tech must meet with a tutor for 10 hours a week. If they don't, he said, they are penalized.
Harrison said he wants to make the move to the secondary. He's going to a good place to do it. A Washington Post article in 2010 titled "Just call Virginia tech football DBU" said that, at the time, almost one-third of the 82 players drafted from Virginia Tech were from the defensive backfield.
Two recent players are DeAngelo Hall, a 2004 draft pick who plays for the Washington Redskins, and Brandon Flowers, a 2008 graduate who is with the Kansas City Chiefs. Hall has played in three pro bowls.
Virginia Tech has local ties to Kathleen. Its secondary coach Torrian Gray attended Kathleen before playing for Virginia Tech from 1992-96.