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2023 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Markel Harrison, WR, UVA-Wise

Markel Harrison the star wide receiver from UVA-Wise recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds owner Damond Talbot.
Markel Harrison the star wide receiver from UVA-Wise recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds owner Damond Talbot.

What makes you a top prospect at your position in the 2023 NFL Draft?

I have played both offense and defense in college, so I believe I have a unique ability to read and recognize coverages easier, along with my ability to get behind the defense. In addition, my high IQ and speed make me a top prospect for the 2021 NFL draft.

At what age were you first interested in the sport of football?

I started playing Pop Warner at the age of 6 in 2005 and instantly fell in love with the game. My grandpa, Reggie Harrison, is a 2x Super Bowl Champion with the Pittsburgh Steelers who played his college ball at the University of Cincinnati.

What is one thing that NFL teams should know about you?

One thing that NFL teams should know about me is that I am a tough guy who will give it every he has, even though I may not be the biggest on the field. Heart and effort will never be in question with me.

If you could donate to one cause in the world, what would it be?

If I could donate to one cause in the world, it would be to the Equal Justice Initiative. The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, challenging racial and economic injustice, and protecting fundamental human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society. Unfortunately, I believe we still have such a huge gap to close on this sensitive topic.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

My grandma would leave all these random quotes around the house while I was in middle school. The one that stuck out to me the most was, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” I took that as don’t wait on someone else to do something for you in life. Take the initiative to get it done yourself.

Who was your childhood hero?

My childhood hero has always been my Uncle Tony. He has always been a father figure in my life, and I admire him for all that he has accomplished and for being selfless in everything he does. He is always looking for ways to advance the people around him.

Who is the most underrated teammate in your locker room at your school?

I think the most underrated teammate in our locker room is Darien Newton. He is another WR who switched positions from RB. He has done nothing but take coaching and has gotten better every year and is just an all-around great person.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

My biggest pet peeve is when people don’t pay attention to something explained clearly and either ask a question that has already been answered or mess up the drill.

Overcoming adversity is what defines character, what was the hardest moment in your life to overcome?

During the 2020 Spring covid season and 2021 Fall season, I played with a torn labrum and rotator cuff in my shoulder. This was my first major surgery, so I was nervous because I didn’t know if I would ever be back to myself. Along with doing rehab all semester, I lost two family members and two former teammates in a 5-week span.

Tell me something about your school and why it is so special to you?

I had 0 offers coming out of high school, so I went to prep school, where UVA-Wise was my only offer. They were the only school to take a shot at me and recruited me as a CB, but I then switched to WR after my freshman year, which they completely supported. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity UVA-Wise gave me and for Coach Rosser for recruiting me.

What is your favorite snack food?

My grandma grew up in Cincinnati, and when we would go back for family reunions, they would always stop at the gas station to get these BBQ chips called Grippo’s. Since then, I have fallen in love with them and will order them from time to time because they don’t sell them in Virginia.

What is the best part of football?

The best part about football is the connection that you make with teammates. From the early mornings to the late nights, the hot days to the cold days, the road trips, the good wins, and the bad losses. They are always by your side, no matter what. When your teammates become your brothers, that’s when you’ll start to be successful.

If you had to sell yourself in one sentence, what would you say?

I may not be the biggest guy in the room, but I will make the most significant impact on the field due to my competitiveness and ability to take coaching and put the team’s needs first.

If you could compare your play to one player in the NFL, who would it be?

If I had to compare myself to one NFL player, it would probably be Jaylen Waddle. He isn’t the biggest receiver out there on the field but uses his speed to his advantage to get the job done. With more opportunity, he can be a reliable weapon in the NFL.

If you could have dinner with three people dead or alive, who would it be and why?

If I could have dinner with three people, I’d choose my grandpa because he always has some great stories to tell from his past, either in life or football. The next person would be one of my friends that passed away when I was 17 in HS Justin Lee. He was my first best friend that passed away in my life. The last person I would want to have dinner with is another of my best friends who passed away when I was in college Gus Lee. We grew up playing football together and would spend almost every weekend together after our games.


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