Jahfari Harvey was virtually unknown when the Miami Hurricanes offered him in January. None of other Florida schools from Power 5 Conferences had taken note of the defensive end from John Carroll Catholic and his three-star grade from the 247Sports.com composite rankings.
An offer from a school like Miami forces people to pay attention, though, and Harvey has made the most of the extra eyeballs. Now a 4-star prospect, Harvey committed to the Hurricanes in June and their early belief in the defensive lineman has helped make Harvey comfortable with decision, even as teams like the Georgia Bulldogs and Boston College Eagles have reached out. This year, the senior has 69 total tackles, 15 1/2 tackles for a loss, 7 1/2 sacks, a forced fumble and three fumble recoveries, one of which he returned for a touchdown.
Now at Vero Beach, Harvey is set to sign early with Miami and enroll in the winter. Once on campus, Harvey will have a chance to compete for immediate playing time along the defensive line. In a question-and-answer session earlier this week, Harvey discussed the role of family in his life and what has changed for him since he transferred in the winter.
Miami Herald: How’s your senior year been going?
Harvey: “Yes, sir, 9-0, so I can’t complain. We’re doing pretty good. We’re trying to go all the way to states. ... I’m just trying to do the best I can for my team, contribute however I can, so I think I’ve played pretty good. I can always do better.”
MH: Miami was on you before a lot of other schools started paying attention. What did you think about that at the time?
JH: “I think Miami was my fourth offer. ... I was really happy. They’ve got — what’s the word I’m looking for? — not a history, but everybody wants to go there as a kid. I was excited because it was my biggest offer, the only like top offer in Florida really. I was really excited.”
MH: Did the Hurricanes offer surprise you early on?
JH: “I had Mississippi State and like UCF, FIU — stuff like that — so it didn’t surprise me, but I was really excited when I got it.”
MH: You grew up a fan of the Florida State Seminoles. Did you ever see yourself playing for Miami?
JH: “I mean, when I was growing up, I always hated the Gators, but after they offered me I was really excited.”
MH: You committed not too long after the initial offer. What about the Hurricanes sold you so quickly?
JH: “When I visited down there, out of all the schools I visited, it just felt the most like home.”
MH: So what attracted you to football initially?
JH: “Just growing up in Florida and my older brother, he wanted to play football, but he got in trouble, so I feel like he really got me in to it. I’d really say that’s the reason I’m playing football. ... He got me into it, but he never really played because he got in too much trouble. He couldn’t play, so he got me into it.
“I always looked up to him. ... I didn’t really think I had to do it, but I was just introduced to playing.”
MH: When did you start thinking about college football?
JH: “When I started playing, I was just playing for fun, so I wasn’t really thinking about college. When I got to seventh grade or eighth grade, I wanted to make a future out of it.”
MH: Your recruiting profile has blown up quite a bit since your commitment. Do you feel like you were just flying under the radar, or have you really improved a lot in the past year or so?
JH: “Both. I think I was overlooked as a junior and then I think when I came over to Vero, they got me better. Their practices and weight programs — everything got me better, so I’d say a little bit of both.”
MH: What do you feel you’ve improved most on since transferring?
JH: “Pretty much skills. Everything we do in practice, it correlates to the game. At Vero, everything improved.”
MH: Let’s finish with a couple random ones. What’s your pregame routine like?
JH: “I just go through the day in school, listen to music. I just go through the day really.”
MH: No superstitions?
JH: “I used to not eat on gameday until the pregame meal, but I don’t do that no more. ... Honestly, the first like two games, I just forgot to bring like money or food, I was playing good, so I was like, I might as well just not eat?”
MH: You wear No. 6 with the Indians. Any reason for it?
JH: “It represents my four sisters, my mom and my nephew — that makes six people. I wear No. 6 for them.”
MH: So you’ve got a tight-knit family?
JH: “When I’m not at practice, man, I’m just hanging out with my family. I don’t really do nothing too extra.”