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Herm Edwards likes playing ASU receiver N’Keal Harry more in the slot

Arizona State 's N'Keal Harry (1) reaches the end zone on touchdown reception against Southern California during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Herm Edwards seems to be enjoying whatever time he has left with wide receiver N’Keal Harry.

The Arizona State junior wouldn’t surprise anyone if he left for the pros following the 2018 season and has already appeared as a first-round prospect on early NFL mock drafts. Harry propped up such projections again Saturday when he led the Sun Devils to a 38-35 win over USC, breaking a 19-game winning streak for the Trojans in Los Angeles.

Harry scored the first touchdown of the game for ASU on a 44-yard reception, later added a 92-yard punt return touchdown that put ASU ahead for good late in the third quarter and then came back in the fourth quarter with what just might be the catch of the year across college football.

Altogether, it was just another slice of evidence that Harry’s NFL future looks promising.

“He’s got strong hands, he’s a fearless guy,” Edwards said while joining Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “We played him a little bit more in the slot this week and I think that helps him. I think it’s good for him.

“I told him, ‘Probably at the next level, you’re going to be an inside player. You’re going to be a slot guy because you’re big, you’re strong, you’re physical.’ He loves going in there.”

Harry has compiled 46 catches for 667 yards and six scores this year. The 6-foot-4 receiver is averaging a career-best 14.5 yards per catch and could challenge for a career high in receiving yards (1,142) and touchdowns (8) set last season.

Behind the scenes, Edwards has been attempting to push his best receiver to challenge himself. By doing so, Harry will challenge his teammates.

Edwards believes Harry will already arrive NFL-ready if he indeed declares for the draft after this season.

The film tells enough about his abilities. But the head coach also finds it easy to sell scouts on the receiver’s intangibles.

“He’s very competitive and he competes every time he’s involved in the team concept, whether it’s the weight room or whether it’s running, whether it’s at practice,” Edwards said. “He likes winning. He likes the competition of competition. I told him, I said, ‘The guy you compete with every day is yourself. It’s never about the opponent. You keep competing against yourself, that’s how you get better. There’s a standard of how you gotta come to practice every day.’

“We’ve had this talk. I said, ‘You’ve got to set a standard of how you’re going to practice, because when everybody sees you catch a ball and run 50 yards with it, they go, ‘Oh, if I want to be a good receiver, I’ve got to do what N’Keal does.'”

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