Checking in on Nyckoles Harbor and Jaden Rashada ahead of National Signing Day
Only four unsigned top 100 college football recruits remain on the approach to National Signing Day — Early Signing Day. From that select group, Nyckoles Harbor, the No. 1 athlete in the Class of 2023 out of Washington D.C.’s Archbishop Carroll, is the highest-rated uncommitted recruit left roaming for a future address.
Nyckoles Harbor is special
No. 1 2023 cornerback Cormani McClain, who signed with Deion Sanders’ Colorado Buffaloes, gave his hard commitment earlier this month, but hasn’t signed his National Letter of Intent yet. Harbor — who at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds is a speed demon in an Escalade’s frame; Usain Bolt in pads — has been weighing his options and is set to make an announcement Wednesday at 10 a.m. PST.
Harbor’s freakish athleticism is underscored by the 20.79 200-meter he ran as a junior competing at the 2022 Texas Tech Under Armour High School Classic. The speed, physical attributes, and technique and his production throughout high school outline why the range of positions he could play at the next level is unprecedented, so much so that the comparisons for Harbor range from Javon Kearse to Darren Waller. Harbor’s final list of schools under consideration is just as eclectic, spanning from Maryland, Michigan, and Oregon to South Carolina.
So where should Harbor go?
If he’s intent on rushing the passer and fulfilling his destiny as an elite pass rusher, Harbor’s best bet may be the Wolverines, which has produced a slew of first-round quarterback terrors during Jim Harbaugh’s eight-year stint. Maryland is the obvious sentimental local choice, and if NIL money weighs on his process, the checks from Under Armour would likely be considerable if he chose the alma mater of its founder, Kevin Plank. Oregon has the deeper Nike pockets, but it’s also a cross-country trek for an east coast kid.
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South Carolina inking Harbor would be the program’s biggest win since Jadeveon Clowney committed to his home state Gamecocks over Clemson two weeks after Signing Day 2011. However, unlike Clowney, Harbor has aspirations of operating on the offensive side at the next level. If Harbor fancies himself as a dual-threat receiver, only Oregon and South Carolina present superior options at quarterback. NFL prospect Spencer Rattler has taken an active interest in Harbor’s recruitment, but Oregon still has Heisman candidate Bo Nix.
Ultimately though, Michigan sounds like the mix of both worlds as an academic institution and for Harbor’s football development – unless Jim Harbaugh skips town for the NFL.
What about Jaden Rashada?
The most anticipated Signing Day announcement is from Jaden Rashada, who will be signing his second Letter of Intent in the last few months. After Rashada’s $13 million deal evaporated at the University of Florida, he scooted back into the open market as soon as Florida released him from his LOI. No school had a recruiting cycle quite as dramatic as Florida, which also pulled their offer from Marcus Stokes, after a video of him using a racial slur emerged online. Who knows if they would have made the same decision knowing what would ensue with Rashada?
The Pittsburg (the one in California) quarterback is reportedly deciding between Arizona State and TCU, which honestly doesn’t seem like much of a choice, even after the Sun Devils chased off Herm Edwards. The Horned Frogs’ likely 2023 starter is Chandler Morris, who initially transferred from Oklahoma before losing his job to Max Duggan. Sam Jackson (no relation to the one you’re thinking of), their highly touted prospect from the 2021 class, recently took off for the California Golden Bears and the transfer coffers are empty.
During the early signing period, head coach Sonny Dykes lamented the lack of quarterbacks in their class. “The one thing we did not do is sign a quarterback,” Dykes told reports in mid-December. “We are trying to figure out what is next at that position. A lot of that has just kind of played out in just waiting to see what was going to happen here and where we were going to go from here”.
Dykes entertained the transfer route, but Rashada may be the ideal fit. He wields the athleticism TCU’s Air Raid offense covets, craftiness moving behind the line of scrimmage, and a live arm that fits the archetype of what worked so well with Max Duggan’s mobility as a runner. Most importantly, it’s not Arizona State.