N’Keal Harry cherishing collegiate career at Arizona State
TEMPE, Ariz. — From the moment N’Keal Harry stepped inside Sun Devil Stadium, he knew Arizona State was home. What he didn’t know is the impact he would have on the program.
“It’s really been a blessing for me,” Harry said. “That’s something I had dreamed about ever since I came to an ASU game. Going out and playing every weekend this time of year is something I’ll never forget.”
Coming out of high school, Harry was one of the nation’s top prospects in the Class of 2016. As Arizona’s No. 1 prospect and the No. 7 receiver in the class, according to 247Sports, he ultimately chose Arizona State over Texas A&M, Washington, Arizona and Colorado.
In each of Harry’s three seasons at Arizona State, he has been one of the team’s premier targets, and the last two years, he’s led the Sun Devils in receiving. Before his third season has come to an end, Harry has already cracked the program’s top 10 all-time in receptions, receiving touchdowns and receiving yards.
This year, he’s accumulated 828 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns (nine receiving, one rushing and one punt return).
“I had very high expectations for myself this year,” Harry said. “I knew what I wanted to do, and I’m just trying to help this team win games.”
Following a stretch in which the Sun Devils lost four of five games, Harry was a major contributor in helping ASU get back on track. In the last two wins against USC and Utah, respectively, Harry scored five total touchdowns and combined for 256 receiving yards.
Despite a couple of games in which he didn’t get too many targets, Harry said focusing on the small things of his game helped him increase his output lately.
“Focusing on myself has been a big part of that,” Harry said. “Watching myself on film, watching exactly how I run routes, the depth, the amount of steps I take.”
Following back-to-back wins, the Sun Devils are now 5-4 (3-3 Pac-12) with three games left in the season. Only one of those games is at Sun Devil Stadium: senior day against UCLA this Saturday. Harry said he expects to send the seniors out with one more win at home.
“I’m excited to go out there and get a win for them,” Harry said. “(It’s) very fulfilling because we worked so hard these last few years.”
Even though Harry is only a junior and still has one more year of eligibility left following this season, many insiders expect him to forego his senior season and enter the 2019 NFL Draft.
Harry has neither confirmed nor denied this. But before he looks ahead, Harry said he’s focused on this season’s goals.
“Our goal is to win these next three games and then go to the Pac-12 Championship,” Harry said.
During his time at Arizona State, Harry has played alongside a strong receiving core, consisting of weapons such as Frank Darby, Kyle Williams, Brandon Aiyuk and others. According to Darby, Harry is among the best leaders in the locker room.
“Just from working out on the field, working on the weight room with me, he always drives me to be the best,” Darby said. “Being a part of that changed the mindset with me — I need to be the best too.”
Whether or not Harry will stay another year is still unknown, but one thing is for certain: Harry will be playing on Sundays at one point or another.
Because of this, the coaching staff has noticed strides in his preparation for the next level.
“I think he’s learning that ‘I’ve got to do all these little, tiny things to be a pro and take my game to the next level,'” ASU offensive coordinator Rob Likens said. “It’s the learning that some of the stuff you do outside of football can be advantageous for your career.”