Fourth round pick caught Harper by surprise

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – In upcoming years, when Clemson fans mention the name of former running back Jamie HarperJamie Harper
Running Back
#8 6-0, 235
Jacksonville, FL

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, the first image to come to mind will be of Harper and his amazing catch at Auburn.

Harper was completely stretched out, horizontal to the ground, the No. 8 on his jersey visible only to the upper deck as he caught a critical touchdown pass against the eventual National Champions.

It was one of the prettiest plays I’ve ever seen.

But Harper told TigerNet Monday afternoon that while that play will rank as one of his all-time bests, that isn’t what he will remember most about his three years as a Tiger.

“I will always remember how this team just came together,” Harper said. “How close we all were, and how close we all are. Jarvis JenkinsJarvis Jenkins
Defensive Tackle
#99 6-4, 315
Clemson, SC

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called me today, and told me I needed to get back up to Clemson so we can work out. We all bonded, and we are so close. Like a family.

“The biggest thing for me is the friendships I made, and the brotherhood I felt with all those guys. Those are things I will cherish throughout my life. That play at Auburn is definitely my best play, and I will always remember that. I can remember that like it was yesterday. But that doesn’t compare to the people I bonded with at Clemson.”

Harper decided to declare for the NFL draft following his junior season, and he was rewarded [if the NFL labor situation is finally settled] by becoming a fourth round pick [130th player taken overall] by the Tennessee Titans.

As it turns out, he wasn’t even watching the television when the pick occurred.

“My family was having a little party for me, and we were all setting stuff up for the party,” Harper said. “I hadn’t heard from any of the NFL teams, so I figured it might be a while before I was drafted. And then I got the call and everybody kind of stopped and listened in.

“Of course, everybody was happy for me when they learned I had been drafted. It was a blessing for me. Everything that happens to you in life, you can take as either a negative or a positive. A lot of people thought I should have stuck around for my senior year. But I was drafted, and I really believe that Clemson has some great running backs on the roster, and good things will be happening for Clemson.”

He says the hardest part for him now is waiting on the NFL lockout to end so he can get to work.

“Every day I am watching to see what is happening,” he said. “My agent is following it closely, and he is always texting me to let me know what is going on. I am asking him questions, and getting feedback from him every day. I just want to get to work so I can be productive for the Titans organization.”

He said he is staying busy by working out in Clemson, and he has been invited to the 2011 NFL Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles [the first playing card photo shoot for many top draft picks] later this week at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

However, he says he can't wait to be able to actually begin the next chapter in his life. He joins a team with an NFL superstar [Chris Johnson] entrenched at his position, and could be battling incumbent backup Javon Ringer for playing time.

“It is definitely a great situation for me, especially with Chris Johnson being there,” Harper said. “He is a tremendous running back, and I can't wait to learn from him. He is a Florida boy, so the connection should already be there. We also have a new quarterback [first round pick Jake Locker], so he and I can go in and learn together. I am all about the opportunity the Titans have given me, and I am going to take full advantage of it. I am just going to work my way up through the system.”

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