Air Force kicked off its recruiting weekend by targeting a new quarterback prospect on Friday. Alabaster (Ala.) Thompson High School star Conner Harrell was the recipient of a verbal scholarship offer.
Recent weeks have felt like rinse and repeat on this process, as the junior passer has seen his offer list inch towards 20.
"It's definitely a blessing," he told SI All-American. "It's all God and I'm grateful for it. It's exciting to be able to go through it. I've always looked forward to this, so, it's exciting to be in it.
"Harvard was pretty recent. Before that, Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee. Virginia Tech also."
Louisville, Nebraska, Vanderbilt, Duke and several other programs are also on the list to date. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound class of 2022 talent had one of the best 2020 high school football seasons nationally, leading Thompson to a state championship in Alabama's highest classification (7A).
Harrell completed better than 73% of his passes to pair with a head-turning touchdown-interception ratio of 42:3. Another 319 yards and five scores came via his running ability, another factor in coaches throughout the FBS and beyond jumping in on the chase for his commitment.
"They say I really throw a good deep ball, show good arm strength and good pocket presence," he said. "I have good feet and I can run. It's great to hear but I definitely want to improve on every part of my game. But to see the hard work I put in and the coaches to start noticing is pretty cool.
"I'm looking for a good coaching staff, one that could get me prepared for the NFL. A winning environment, for sure. Just a place that I feel comfortable in, a place my family will feel comfortable in. I'll talk to God about it."
Harrell admits he's in no rush to end the process, especially given the pandemic-related recruiting limitations, including the NCAA dead period that has been in place for a calendar year. It runs through the end of May.
The junior has only been able to see places like Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee thus far but additional trips will come before a final decision is to be made.
"I plan to just drive to some colleges and see the campuses, especially if they extend the dead period again," he said. "I need to make a visit to a college before I pick one in my decision."
In the meantime, like with the rest of the recruiting world, it's back to digital communication to navigate the process. Harrell had a Zoom call with Louisville on Thursday evening, the latest of many check-ins with different coaching staffs.
"We were just going over some football stuff," he said. "They were just showing me some concepts. Stuff like that. Talked to a few coaches like Coach (Pete) Thomas."
There is no list of favorites, so SI All-American got general thoughts on several programs recently added to the Harrell offer list.
Appalachian State: "They're a winning program, had a really good season last year. I really like the coaches, so that's good. They've got a good program down there, I like that, and I'm building a relationship with them."
Vanderbilt: "I don't know much about them, I've done a little bit of research. I'm kind of close to Vandy (geographically) and the coaches seem really excited about me. It's something to say if a coach really wants you."
Nebraska: "I love Coach (Mario) Verduzco, he's really exciting. The coaching staff is really interested in me and they continue to create a relationship so that's why I'm interested in them."
Duke: "I like Duke as well. They have a great coaching staff, I talk to the quarterbacks coach (Jeff Faris) a lot. I like them. Coach (David) Cutcliffe has a really good history with quarterbacks, so that's a plus. And of course Duke, the school in general, is a great school."
While the recruiting options continue to increase, Harrell is focused on his health in the meantime. A broken collarbone cost him critical time in the state title run but he is optimistic he will be showing off his right arm sometime soon.
Harrell has been invited to marquee spring events like the Elite 11 and Under Armour All-America camp series.
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