Nike Indoor National Championships

March 11th & 12th, 2006

Prince George's Sports Complex - Landover, MD


By Pete Cava, National Scholastic Sports Foundation

Percy Harvin is fast.  He can jump, too.

He can also run in a helmet and shoulder pads. The way he catches footballs, you’d think he’s got gluesticks for fingers. On defense, he covers enemy receivers like paparazzi cover Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Harvin can hoop, too, and if he ever learns to skate, curl or do the biathlon, they might put him on a Wheaties box and name a candy bar for him.      

Harvin, who recently committed to the University of Florida for football and track, is one of the finest pure athletes entered in the National Scholastic Sports Foundation’s Nike Indoor Nationals. March 11-12 in Landover, Md.  

And yet, the Nike meet could be the last athletic event of Harvin’s prep career.  

The 6-foot-1, 188-pound senior from Landstown High School in Virginia Beach, Va., is being compared to a young Deion Sanders.  “I wouldn’t be at all surprised if one day he won the Heisman Trophy,” Landstown quarterback Donny Kirby told the Tampa Tribune.

And that’s not even half of it. 

As a junior last winter, he played guard for Landstown’s basketball team and helped the club to the state title game, where they dropped a close decision to Woodside of Newport News.   

Last June, Harvin became the first Virginia prep in 69 years to win five gold medals at the state 3A track meet.  He won the 100 meters with a time of 10.69 and finished first in the 200 in 21.59.  His mark of 23 feet, 5.5 inches gave him the long jump title, and he won the triple jump with a 47-7 effort. 

Harvin also ran a leg on Landstown’s victorous 4x100m relay team.   He had a hand in 40 of Landstown’s 42 points as the Eagles tied for first in the team standings.  “He ran away with the long jump and the triple jump,” said Landstown athletic director Dave Siock.  “It was neck-and-neck in the 100, and then he pulled away at the end.  It was just unheard of.”

According to Siock, Harvin does it all on natural talent.  “His track coach claims he doesn’t do any coaching as far as Harvin’s concerned,” Siock added.

Last autumn, Harvin had college recruiters drooling with his weekly performance on the gridiron.  “With Harvin, you know they can score on any given play,” said Chris DeWitt, head coach at rival Kellam, Va., High School. 

DeWitt wasn’t exaggerating.  Harvin caught 78 passes as a wide receiver, good for 1,384 yards and 14 touchdowns.  He had 33 TDs overall, and in the state AAA Division 6 football championship game he put on a show that still has fans buzzing. 

In a 47-20 win over James Robinson of Fairfax, Harvin had three interceptions, gained 476 all-purpose yards and scored four touchdowns.   “It was really the Percy Harvin show,” Landstown principal Brian Baxter told reporters.

Scholarship offers flooded in from schools like Florida, Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Southern Cal and Tennessee.  In late December, Harvin orally commited to the Gators in a televised news conference. 

Heady stuff for a 17-year-old, but Harvin – a Virginia native who’ll turn 18 on May 28 – has remained modest.  “A lot of people think I like the spotlight.  I don’t like it at all,” he told the Miami Herald.  “But it’s something I’ve got to deal with.”

Harvin played basketball again this season, but Landstown bowed out in the fist round of regional competition.  “He was the team leader in scoring,” said Dave Siock, “about 16 points per game.” 

How good is he?   “This area’s always had pretty basketball good talent,” said Siock. “Alonzo Mourning and Allen Iverson came out of here.  Right now, Harvin’s one of the top five players in the region.”

An incident on the court may have ended Percy’s high school athletic career.  On March 3, the Norfolk Virginian Pilot reported that the Virginia High School League had suspended Harvin for a January 27 scuffle during a game with Green Run.  Referees stopped the contest with time remaining on the clock.  Harvin and a Green Run player were called for technical fouls.

The suspension was to keep Harvin out of his state indoor meet March 4-5.  The newspaper report indicated he will appeal to be eligible for the outdoor meet.  “He’s actually a very quiet kid,” said Siock.  “He’s an honor roll student, just a real nice kid.  When he’s on the field, he’s entirely different.  But when he’s off the field, he’s just real quiet and laid back.”   

Harvin’s last track outing to date came at a district meet at Newport News on February 28.  He won three events, the 55m (6.37), the long jump (22-11) and the triple jump (45-7).  He also ran a leg on the winning 800m relay team.  “Percy is a special athlete,” Landstown coach Thomas Anderson told reporters.   

How special?  Good enough in football that experts predict Harvin will pay immediate dividends for coach Urban Meyer and the Gators next fall.  “He’s just an amazing athlete,” Landstown football coach Chris Beatty told the Tampa Tribune.  “watching Percy operate, it looks like he’s playing a video game.”   

In track, it’s likely Harvin hasn’t yet reached his full potential.  “That 6.37 [at the district meet] came in his first and only meet this season,” said Nike Indoor Nationals meet director Jim Spier.  “He’s highly regarded as a football player, and he’s pretty good in basketball, too.  But who knows what he’s capable of in track?

The answer could come in Landover.


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