New WVU Safety Jarrod Harper Emotional on Signing Day - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

New WVU Safety Jarrod Harper Emotional on Signing Day

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MORGANTOWN -

National Signing Day is a big day for many colleges around the country as they watch their football program grow with a new class of players. It is also a day that brings a formal end to a process lasting more than a year involving visits and numerous conversations with coaches.

The 2012 WVU signing class includes players from eight different states. Only one is from within an hour of the West Virginia University campus and that is Jarrod Harper.

Harper is finishing up his senior season at Mountain Ridge High School in Frostburg, Maryland. He became the first person from that school to sign a division one letter of intent.

Mountain Ridge did not have school on National Signing Day, but more than 100 people showed up at the school to attend Harper's signing. He got emotional when it was his turn to speak in front of the crowd. Harper had to stop speaking on several occasions to wipe the tears away from his face.

"It's a lot of relief," Harper said. "My dad always told me that what I have accomplished is a big thing and it didn't really hit me until today at the podium. As you can see, just knowing that I have a free four-year education and my parents not having to pay for my education is a great thing."

Harper played both sides of the ball in high school, but will focus on defense in college. He is projected to be a safety for the Mountaineers. Harper was the first player to commit to West Virginia in the 2012 class and that commitment remained firm despite changes to the defensive coaching staff.

"Coach Casteel was actually my lead recruiter and that is who offered me," Harper stated. "Whenever me and my family found out he was leaving, it definitely hit hard because we built a close relationship. Coach Roberts and Coach Holgorsen both called me and told me I am still part of the family and nothing changed with me and they still wanted me."

WVU Head Coach Dana Holgorsen had nothing but great things to say about Harper when he addressed the media on signing day.

"He was our first commit of the class and our most solid commit of the class," Holgorsen said. "There is nobody on our list that wants to be a Mountaineer more than Jarrod. He has a big old flying WV on the side of his head for the last few days. We can't wait to get him here. He would walk here if he could get into school and be down there in the weight room right now."

Harper is eager to arrive in Morgantown. At 5-foot-11, 200 pounds he has the size to compete for playing time, but not the experience.

Harper understands the game will be different at the next level. He is already trying to prepare himself for that.

"I have talked to a lot of players like Tavon (Austin) and the biggest thing they said that changes is the speed of the game," Harper said. "They said I am big enough right now to play and the same with Coach Dunlap, who is my position coach."

Harper committed to West Virginia when it was still solidly a member of the Big East. Throughout the past year, that conference affiliation has changed and Harper is looking forward to the opportunity to play in the Big 12.

"It makes me feel good because it is more competition and it is good competition and we will be able to travel a lot," Harper said. "Going to the bigger conference, there is going to be a lot more people at the game, so it is a big thing."

Watch Harper's signing, his remarks at the podium and an interview with him by clicking on the respective videos below.

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