ASU football's Jalen Harvey focusing on common theme: Staying ready

After redshirting his first year and an injury cutting his second year short, receiver Jalen Harvey hopes this year can be different.

Following a solid showing in spring practice and fall camp in 2015, redshirt sophomore wide receiver Jalen Harvey's season was cut short because of an injury suffered during a scrimmage play on the final day of Camp Tontozona.

After months of being sidelined with a broken collarbone, his opportunity finally came in perhaps the biggest game of the year. In the second quarter of the Territorial Cup at Sun Devil Stadium, Harvey hauled in a 41-yard touchdown pass from redshirt senior quarterback Mike Bercovici. 

"It was a big boost (to my confidence) just coming back from injury and stuff," Harvey said. "It wasn't all about me. ... I was just being prepared.

"Before (that week), I didn't really understand the whole rivalry. When I got to the game, it's like, 'Man, the crowd is big.' You just have to prove your point when you step on the field.

The injury was tough on Harvey, who was excited about his chance to play last season after redshirting the previous year. 

He did use the extra time wisely, though. 

"I cried a little because I couldn't play," he said. "I just had to get over it. That was just more (time) for studying and reading the coverages for me."

Harvey didn't practice every day during his recovery, so the coaches would let him just sit in the film room and write down, read and study different coverages. However, in the week leading up to Washington State, he was able to get back in pads. That was when he got back to moving around, hitting and finding his rhythm once again. 

"Anybody can just sit there and downgrade themselves," Harvey said. "Knowing me as a person, I wasn't taught like that. I got to get over the (hump)." 

Last Friday, Todd Graham was asked about the team's receiving corps. After mentioning Cameron Smith for a brief moment, Graham pointed out two players who were catching coaches' eyes by competing with passion. 

One of them was Harvey. 

"Everybody goes to practice, everybody is going through spring ball," Graham said. "It's what you're getting out of it every day."

Newly-hired wide receivers coach Jay Norvell commented on Harvey's sense of competition.

"You're not always going to do everything the right way, but if you compete every day, you got a chance," Norvell said. "I told him to come to spring practice every day like it was a game, and he's really approached it that way, so he's making a lot of improvement."

On Monday, the redshirt sophomore was getting first team reps, and even caught a deep pass that he took to the end zone in the 11-on-11 team tempo drill. 

Throughout the spring, he has tried to focus on one slogan that he said has become all too common throughout the past two years' struggles: Stay ready. 

Harvey said Norvell has been preaching an attacking mindset thus far. 

"Just coming off the line, staying low while the defensive back is pressed up," he said. "It's not a whole lot as of right now, but my first impression of him was that he's a good man. He's going to come in here and teach us."

Harvey said he's noticed how smooth offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey has been when teaching the offense. He said he likes the playcalling better than previous years. 

Norvell said Harvey is just one more playmaker.

"He can stretch the field vertically, he can also catch the ball underneath," he said. "We'll use him in every way we can — short, intermediate, long, crossing the middle. But we're going to try to make him be a total player and that's what we ask our guys to do. He's done a good job of that so far."

In addition to receiver, Harvey said he has been working on pretty much every special teams unit.

As the number of spring practices dwindles down and summer approaches, Harvey is hopeful and enthused for a full 2016 season with one goal.

"Winning," he said. "Winning every game with my team. Being in the rotation — first team, second team, it doesn't really matter."

Related links:

ASU football scrimmages for first time in spring of 2016

Demario Richard, Kalen Ballage leading by example for ASU football

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