N’Keal Harry forgoes senior season to depart for NFL draft

Junior wide receiver N'Keal Harry headed to NFL after stellar career with Sun Devils

After three seasons starting in maroon and gold, junior wide receiver N’Keal Harry has announced he will not return to ASU for his senior season. Instead, Harry will enter his name into the 2019 NFL Draft. 

Harry's status for ASU’s upcoming bowl game remains up in the air, but coach Herm Edwards indicated he is preparing for Harry to play. 

“I would like to say thank you to everybody in Sun Devil nation, my coaches, my teammates, all the media and all the fans,” Harry said. “This has been a great ride, a once in a lifetime opportunity and something that I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.”

Harry finished the regular season with 73 receptions for 1088 yards and nine touchdowns, good for third or better in all three statistical categories among Pac-12 receivers. He leaves ASU as the school’s third all-time leader in both receiving yards (2889) and receptions (213), as well as the fifth most receiving touchdowns in school history (22). 

“This young man has done a lot for this university as far as his ability to play football but also how he’s represented the university and represented his community,” Edwards said. “What he’s meant to us as a football player, but also meant to me as a student-athlete, is very important. He has accomplished a lot of things on the field as well as off the field. He checks all the boxes.” 

The Chandler High School product was a star from his first game at Sun Devil Stadium, quickly establishing himself as the go-to target for then redshirt sophomore quarterback Manny Wilkins. Harry's freshman season provided a glimpse into the talent he would one day become, totaling 23 catches for 279 yards in his final three games.

Harry followed that with a stellar sophomore season, highlighted by a seven-catch, 170-yard performance in a 37-35 win over the Oregon Ducks. This season Harry showed the country what has NFL scouts salivating with an all-around outstanding junior season, often singlehandedly buoying an inconsistent Sun Devil passing attack.

His game against the Utah Utes was downright dominant, pulling in nine catches for 161 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-20 ASU victory.   

“I truly do love this university,” Harry said. “This place has given me opportunities I had only dreamt of, and I’m forever thankful for that.” 

ASU junior wide receiver N'Keal Harry (1) hugs head coach Herm Edwards at the end of Harry's NFL draft announcement in Tempe, Arizona, on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018.

Harry is projected to be one of the first wide receivers selected in April’s NFL draft and will become the 246th ASU player to ever be drafted. He will almost certainly join Damarious Randall (2015) as one of the only Sun Devils taken in the first round in the past decade and could possibly become the latest ASU player to be chosen in the top ten since Terrell Suggs went No. 10 overall in 2003. 

Harry has garnered praise from many in the NFL community, most notably Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald who called Harry a “phenomenal talent” and remarked that “he’s a much better college player than I was.” Edwards also sees the potential in his superstar wide receiver and likens him to a former first-round pick. 

“I don’t like comparing players,”  Edwards said. “But the guy you can probably equate (Harry) with is Dez Bryant — big, strong, physical guy who can make the contested catch, strong hands, loves to compete, really good in the red zone, good coming inside when he’s going to take a hit. I’m not saying he’s going to be Dez Bryant, he’s going to be N’Keal and that’s good enough.” 

The loss of Harry coupled with the departure of Wilkins, signals the end of an era for ASU football. The duo has evolved into the embodiment of the traits that makeASU special and to finish their final regular season together as winners of a dramatic Territorial Cup is a testament to the type of players the two have become. 

“We left our mark here the correct way,”  Wilkins said to Harry. “I’m so proud of you and I’m so proud of the work you put in. You changed my life. You’ll go down as a legend here.”

Reach the reporter at Jrosenfa@asu.edu or follow @jacobrosenfarb on Twitter. 

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