Sports

NC State star Kelvin Harmon to skip the Gator Bowl, enter NFL draft

Kelvin Harmon hopes to follow in Bradley Chubb’s footsteps in the NFL draft.

The N.C. State junior receiver will follow Chubb’s lead and skip the Wolfpack’s bowl game in order to avoid injury and protect his draft stock.

Harmon, a projected first-round pick, officially announced on Monday that he would skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft. The All-ACC receiver also announced he would skip the Wolfpack’s Gator Bowl matchup with Texas A&M on Dec. 31.

“I have prayed and discussed the path forward with my family and we have decided that it is time for me to proceed to the next chapter in my football life,” Harmon said in a statement released by the school. “That chapter will be playing professional football in the National Football League.

“To this end, I am relinquishing my college eligibility, effective immediately, and declaring myself a professional. I am applying for entry into the 2019 NFL Draft. I will not be playing in the upcoming Gator Bowl, but my support for my teammates will go unchanged.”

Chubb, N.C. State’s star defensive end last season, was the No. 5 pick in the 2018 NFL draft. He did not play in the Wolfpack’s 52-31 Sun Bowl win over Arizona State.

Harmon, who leads the ACC with 1,186 receiving yards this season, might not be the only Wolfpack player to miss the bowl game.

Senior linebacker Germaine Pratt, who missed the North Carolina win on Nov. 24 with a knee injury, might not be healthy enough or be willing to risk further injury in the bowl game. Pratt, an All-ACC choice, leads the Wolfpack with 104 tackles.

All-ACC quarterback Ryan Finley is expected to play in the bowl game. The sixth-year senior is one of the best quarterback prospects in the draft class. Finley leads the ACC in passing yards (3,789) and is tied for the lead with 24 touchdown passes.

In what is sure to be a busy bowl run-up for the Wolfpack, receiver Jakobi Meyers also needs to make a decision about his NFL future. A fourth-year junior, Meyers joined Harmon on the All-ACC team and also had 1,028 receiving yards. Meyers also broke the school’s single-season record for catches (89).

Harmon’s decision is the first to be in the books. He provided a clue about his thought process when he went through the “Senior Night” ceremony with his teammates on Nov. 8 before a home loss to Wake Forest.

Harmon joined N.C. State legends Torry Holt (1997-98) and Jerricho Cotchery (2002-03) as the only receivers in school history with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. He had 69 catches for 1,017 yards as a sophomore in 2017 and 81 catches for 1,186 yards as a junior.

“The past three years has been the greatest experience of my life,” Harmon said. “When I was recruited by Coach (Dave) Doeren and Coach (George) McDonald, I was a shy New Jersey kid. Through their nurturing, teaching and support, and that of the entire N.C. State coaching and support staff, I feel I have grown into a man. My family and I are grateful for this support. The university has become home and will always be for me.

“Thank you all at North Carolina State University, including my faculty, the academic administration and the entire Athletic department for your support throughout this journey.”

Joe Giglio has worked at The N&O since 1995 and has regularly reported on the ACC since 2005. He grew up in Ringwood, N.J. and graduated from N.C. State.
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