bill-swift - May 1, 2012
If your first thought was "who?" don't worry; you're not alone. That's just part of what goes in to being Mr. Irrelevant, the final pick of the NFL Draft.
The name could be more fitting for any of its former namesakes than it will be for Harnish. With Andrew Luck taken with the first as the heir to Peyton Manning's vacated throne there is one thing that Harnish can count on—absolutely no playing time once the regular season begins.
He may not even stick on the roster for all we know; it wouldn't be the first time that a Mr. Irrelevant became a has-been while still in his early 20s. If Indianapolis returns to form and only carries one back-up QB during the season he'll have to beat out either Drew Stanton or Trevor Vittatoe.
His chances could end up being pretty good. Stanton has had plenty of time to catch on with someone in the NFL, but has been largely unimpressive whenever he's stepped onto the field. As for Vittatoe, well, there's a reason why everyone's first reaction at hearing his name is "Who?"
Harnish actually had a pretty impressive college career. During his career he set 30 school passing, rushing, and total offense records. He was twice selected as an all-conference player (MAC) and named the MAC's best player in 2010.
In four years at Northern Illinois he threw for over 11,000, but what's most impressive is what he did in his final season. During the '11 campaign he passed accounted for 4,043 yards of total offense and became only the 10th player in NCAA history to rush for over 200 yards and pass for over 200 yards in a single game (October 15 against Western Michigan).
What could turn the tide for young Harnish is the fact that he's a local boy. He was born in Bluffton, Indiana, and played his high school ball at Norwell High School in Ossian, Indiana. Curtis Painter was a local boy having played his college ball at Purdue.
(A little video of Harnish while at Northern Illinois)
Article by Travis Pulver
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