The name just rolls off the tongue like something special. Perhaps his mother knew something when it was time to name her child. Knew that this one would be worthy of a name like Vegas to go along with a sir name such as Harley.
It suggests glitz and glamour, yet rugged toughness at the same time. Diamonds and leather. The beauty and brawn of the pretty-boy swag.
Vegas Harley’s name suits him like a fitted shirt. He’s the quarterback who can dance around while avoiding tacklers in a gridiron waltz that drops jaws, yet he’ll lower the boom as a defensive back like a wild hog emerging from the palmetto scrub.
But as college apporaches, he's going to have to choose bewteen the two.
He’s the age-old Florida quarterback conundrum and he’s playing it out in person next football season as the senior leader of the Mount Dora Hurricanes.
Harley is the gifted quarterback that every college wants, but not every college wants him as a quarterback.
He found that out Saturday on an unofficial visit to Gainesville for Florida’s first Junior Day of the 2012 recruiting period.
“They want to recruit me as an athlete and mostly DB and maybe throw me in on the Wildcat once in a while,” Harley said Sunday of what he figures to hear from a lot of colleges this year. “That’s what Florida told me at least. I want to play on the offensive side of the ball and, where they want me to play, it’s not really where my heart is.”
Of course, he’s not ready to make a decision on playing either/or right now. When posed with the hypothetical situation of whether he would rather play quarterback at a Mid-American Conference-type school or defensive back in a conference like the SEC, Harley was definitely perplexed.
“Hmm, that’s a good question,” Harley said. “I’d have to be put in that situation to know the true answer … to know what I’d really do.”
He does know that what he hears from recruiters are not necessarily words upon which he can stake his future.
“Definitely a school who would want me to play QB would be a favorite,” Harley said, “but they can tell me anything and I’m not sure if they mean it or not, so it just comes down to me sitting down and building that relationship and trust so I know what to do in the end.”
Meanwhile, he plans to enjoy putting on a show for the Mount Dora fans for one more season. He’s been the starting quarterback for the Hurricanes since his sophomore year, playing only defense as a safety for his freshman season.
He has back-to-back seasons of producing 2,000-plus yards of total offense. As a junior last year, he eclipse 3,000 yards. He threw for 1,261 yards and 14 touchdowns on 81 of 159 and carried the ball 208 times for 1,837 yards and 15 touchdowns.
He was the Sentinel’s Lake County Offensive Player of the Year and also earned first-team honors on the Sentinel’s All-Central Florida team. He runs a 4.45-second 40-yard dash and a 4.11-second shuttle.
Harley currently lists Florida, Florida State, Miami, Alabama and USF as his top schools showing interest.
“They’re all pretty even. I’m just really starting out, looking things over right now,” he said. “I’m not sure what I want to do, so there’s really nobody ahead at this moment.”
He did enjoy his visit to Gainesville on Saturday.
“We got to see the campus and the locker rooms and we had a good time,” said Harley, who was with his mother, Mount Dora coach Chad Grabowski and teammate Marcus Brown, a 2011 senior. “We saw Trey Burton and got to take a picture with him.”
The all took in the Gators’ basketball victory over Tennessee on Saturday night.
“It was great … a lot of energy coming from that,” Harley said. “I can just imagine how it would be as a player to have that kind of energy going for you. It was just a great atmosphere.”
Chris Hays is the recruiting coverage coordinator at the Orlando Sentinel. He can be reached at email@example.com.