TOPEKA — Sitting in the lobby of the Ramada Convention Center on Wednesday evening, Kansas football coach Charlie Weis was getting eager to announce his latest addition to the Kansas football program.
He was working on something big, he said, and he was hoping to unveil it before he finished a “Happy Hour” event with fans on KU’s annual spring football tour.
That addition, Weis would announce later, was receiver Nick Harwell, a transfer from Miami (Ohio) who completed his junior season last fall. And from a football standpoint, Harwell appears to be a perfect fit for a program plagued by a middling receiving corps. Harwell, 6-1 and 193 pounds, was the nation’s second-leading receiver in 2011, piling up 97 catches and 1,425 yards. He added 68 receptions for 870 yards last season while missing three games for a knee injury.
On Wednesday, Weis seemed hopeful that Harwell would be immediately eligible under the graduate-transfer rule, which allows a player to transfer and play right away after graduating at their previous school.
But for Harwell, who was dismissed from Miami (Ohio) after some off-field trouble, it might not be so simple. Harwell was arrested in March after an incident involving his girlfriend, according to the Dayton Daily News. Harwell, according to the Daily News, was charged with criminal damaging, theft and unauthorized use of a vehicle/vehicle trespass on March 30, according to the Oxford Police Department. The charge was later reduced to a single count of attempted theft, a second-degree misdemeanor, but Harwell was later dismissed from school after going through an appeals process with the university’s Office of Ethics & Student Conflict Resolution.
The ruling left Harwell looking for a new school. And in order to be eligible for next season, Harwell would need to complete a degree before enrolling at Kansas, which begins fall classes in late August. Harwell spent three years at Miami after spending one year at the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School in Colorado Springs.
A statement from KU said the athletic department’s compliance and academic staffs were working through the process of determining whether Harwell could be eligible for next season.
If Harwell is eligible in the fall, he would instantly become the top receiving threat for junior quarterback Jake Heaps, who is entering his first season as the starter after transferring from BYU. The Jayhawks’ other options at receiver include junior Justin McCay, a former Bishop Miege standout, senior Josh Ford, senior Christian Matthews and junior Andrew Turzilli.