Arizona’s top prospect the last two years has left to play for a program in a different state. This year will be different. On Monday, N'Keal Harry, a five-star wide receiver from Chandler High, announced that he has verbally committed to Arizona State.
Harry chose Arizona State after taking official visits to Washington and Texas A&M. Those trips took place a few months after he released a list of 10 programs in July: Oregon, Texas A&M, Washington, Arizona, USC, Arizona State, Texas, Louisville, UCLA and Oregon State. (Harry reportedly plans to visit Oregon in late November.) The Sun Devils also could land Arizona’s No. 2 recruit, cornerback Byron Murphy, as he and Harry reportedly have said they would like to play together in college. This is a promising development for a program that watched quarterback Kyle Allen in 2014 and wide receiver Christian Kirk in 2015 sign with Texas A&M.
As a junior last season, Harry caught 30 passes for 657 yards and 13 touchdowns, according to MaxPreps. (Harry currently is recovering from an ankle injury but could be cleared for the state playoffs.) Arizona State also signed Chandler quarterback Bryce Perkins, another one of the state's most highly regarded recruits, as part of its 2015 class. At 6’3,’’ 211 pounds, Harry—the No. 2 wide receiver and No. 20 player in the class of 2016, according to Rivals.com—is viewed as a top-end deep threat who can out-muscle defensive backs. Harry would be the highest-rated prospect Arizona State has landed since linebacker Vontaze Burfict in 2009.
“A big downfield threat, he has a great build and excellent power, which allows him to win battles for the ball,” Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell said of Harry. “He also has the ability to get off the line of scrimmage unchecked. He has reliable hands, high points the ball well and will be a red zone nightmare in college.”
Harry joins a recruiting class that now counts commitments from 13 players and entered Monday rated 48th in the country by Rivals.com. Though he's the first wide receiver prospect in the class of 2016 to pledge to Arizona State, it has earned commitments from two potential pass-catchers listed as athletes (Kyle Williams and Jeremy Smith) as well as a tight end (Jared Bubak).
Harry will elevate a Sun Devils offense that has underwhelmed this season.
Arizona State ranks 10th in the Pac-12 in passing yards per attempt, seventh in the conference in passing plays of at least 30 yards and 66th in the country in Football Outsiders passing S&P + ratings. He should be counted on to serve as one of the Sun Devils' primary targets right away, as they are set to lose leading receiver Devin Lucien this offseason.