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June 7, 2005Last week, Virginia Beach (Va.) Landstown wide receiver Percy Harvin, the No. 1 player in the nation, listed eight schools when asked to name his favorites in recruiting. However, after constant phone calls from colleges on and off that list, Harvin and his coach narrowed it down a bit further this past Friday. The same was done with his talented teammate, Damon McDaniel. Harvin has five schools clearly at the top of his list with two others trying to sneak in while McDaniel likes nine. Who are they and will the dynamic duo head to the same school?
"I received calls from at least seven or eight schools right after that article came out, most of them asking why they weren't on the list when they assumed they were," said Landstown head coach Chris Beatty. "So Percy and I sat down and decided to really focus on what schools he liked and where he was interested in going. He came up with five schools he's very high on and two that are also still in the mix."
Surprisingly, none of the schools making the cut are in-state.
"He's going out of state, that much I'm sure of," said Beatty. "I've talked to Virginia Tech and Virginia and they know this. They're certainly not going to give up I'm sure, but Percy wants to get outside of Virginia and make an impact elsewhere."
So which five are on top?
"Florida State, Miami, Florida, Southern Cal and Michigan," said Beatty. "Those are the five he really likes a lot. He's also keeping Tennessee and LSU in there as well and hasn't eliminated them."
What connection does he have to any of his top five favorites?
"Not really a connection, although his sister goes to Eastern Michigan and they are close and he's always been a big Florida State fan," said Beatty. "He might take a visit up to Michigan this summer if he can now that track is done, but he's very focused on football and is already starting seven-on-sevens."
The Seminoles have been considered Harvin's silent leader since the process began due to his childhood fondness and comparisons to Peter Warrick. Is that still the case?
"I honestly think all five are even," said Beatty. "If you had asked me a month ago, I would have said FSU was ahead, but with all the schools coming in this past month and getting to know the other coaches, he's not leaning there now. The top five are ahead of the other two, but they are all even."
Harvin has been quite busy these past few weeks dominating Virginia track. This past weekend he capped it all off with four individual golds at the VHSL Group AAA state finals and another gold in the 4x100.
"That was his goal," said Beatty. "He wanted to win all five."
Harvin's performance was the first time in 69 years in the state that someone won all five events. He ran a 10.69-second 100 meters (his best time is 10.43), a 21.59-second 200 meters (his best is 21.19), jumped 23 1/2 feet in the long jump (24 is his best) and 47 and 7 inches in the triple jump (his best ever). In the 4x100, Harvin ran the second (longest leg) in leading his team to victory in 42.06 seconds.
"And that's with his legs tired from everything he's been doing," said Beatty. "He never stops, he's always going and doing something. He runs the second leg of the 4x100 because it's the longest leg and he's the fastest kid around corners. Damon McDaniel (highly recruited teammate) runs the anchor because he's straight-line fast."
There has been some question regarding Harvin's height as colleges and the NFL seem to be coveting taller wide receivers. Is he a legit 6-foot-1 and will he continue to grow?
"Percy is 6-foot-1 even, no shorter, no taller and I think he's done growing," said Beatty. "He and Damon are both 6-foot-1. Percy is around 191 pounds at the end of track season and he'll be 200 or so by the start. Damon is around 190 pounds and should be the same - 200 or so by the start of the season. They are both very strong and put together. Size will not be an issue with either."
In addition to narrowing Harvin's list a bit, Beatty sat with McDaniel and did the same.
"Damon is interested in both in-state schools so Virginia and Virginia Tech are on there," he said. "He also likes LSU, Florida, Miami, Oklahoma, Illinois and Ohio State. Illinois was a surprise to me, but they are having a very good recruiting year and the quarterback they received a commitment from (Isiah Williams) called Damon and they hit it off."
Will McDaniel get out to any schools this summer?
"He's hoping to get down to LSU if he can, but beyond that it will probably be official visits once we narrow his list down a bit more," said Beatty. "Damon is looking at more schools right now."
Landstown High School was swarming with activity this May with numerous college coaches visiting. Did any head coaches make the trip?
"The following head coaches came in - Pete Carroll, Les Miles, Charlie Weis, Urban Meyer, Phillip Fulmer, Al Groh, Frank Beamer and John Bunting," Beatty listed. "I think those were it, there might have been more. I'm glad it's over, it was a little hectic."
Does Beatty think Harvin and McDaniel will be a package deal for a school like Florida State, Florida or LSU, teams that have offered both and are on their latest list?
"No, I don't see them going to the same school," he said. "They are friends and competitors, but I think they'll go their separate ways in college. They both want to make their own way."
And when will a decision come?
"Not until late, probably around Signing Day," he said. "I can't see an early decision for either."