Phoenix College safety Ryan Harper makes verbal commitment
Ryan Harper Talks About SJSU Pledge
"I committed on (Wednesday) morning," Harper said. "Coach (Gary) Bernardi, who is the coach recruiting me, came over and I talked about it with my parents, and decided it was something I wanted to go with so I verbaled."
A two-sport star out of Greenway High School in Phoenix, Harper already had a close relationship with Bernardi - the veteran coach was at UNLV and recruited Harper during that time, and even offered him a scholarship to play for the Rebels.
"I chose baseball at that time so I told him 'no'" he said. "Then I later regretted it, so here I am now."
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Harper won't need to sit out as he is a junior college transfer, and will have three years of eligibility. He said the Spartans staff is recruiting him at safety, but he'll also get the opportunity to contribute on special teams.
"They're going to give me a chance to punt," Harper said. "I've done some of that in junior college and they liked that. I ran a lot of successful fake punts."
While baseball is not entirely out of the question in the future for Harper, he said the staff isn't planning on allowing him to play two sports at SJSU.
Harper is not a stranger to the Bay Area, either. He said he'll look at San Jose State as sort of a second home.
"I have a lot of family ties in the area and I know a lot of people there," he said. "We used to go there when I was a kid so it's not a strange place to me."
A common theme among recruits this year has been the improvement of the San Jose State football team. After going 1-12 in 2010, the Spartans improved to 5-7 in 2011, and it could have been even better. Harper took notice and it factored in his decision.
"They did a lot better this season than last," he said. "And they lost a lot of close games that they could have won, and a lot of those guys are coming back next season."
Harper said he wasn't yet sure whether he'll enroll in January or wait until summer.
Don Hoekwater is the Publisher of Inside Sparta. You are welcome to contact Don with any questions or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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