Virgen's View: Mr. Irrelevant will be 'Harnishing'

Chandler Harnish is compared to Tim Tebow on his draft profile at because both are dual-threat quarterbacks.

Harnish, out of Northern Illinois University, says he's a different type of QB, not as big. But there are some similarities. Both aren't ashamed of their religion. They are Christian.

You know about Tebowing, the dropping to a knee and praying that the New York Jets quarterback made popular when he was with the Denver Broncos. There's also Harnishing. That's when you point to the sky after a touchdown or a great feat.

Harnish can do some Harnishing now, and he just might be doing it in Newport Beach in June. He was selected No. 253 and dead last by the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL Draft, thus becoming Mr. Irrelevant XXXVII.

The Colts began the draft on Thursday by making the three-day event's worst-kept secret official and took Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. They ended it with another quarterback, who is not so sure about all this irrelevant talk and jokes about the underdog.

How does he feel to be Mr. Irrelevant and play behind Luck?

"It feels good to be on an NFL team," he said in a phone interview shortly after Mr. Irrelevant creator Paul Salata announced the final pick in New York. "I met Andrew Luck at the NFL combine. He is a great player and a better person. My job is to compete for the job. I'm going to make him a better player. Drew Stanton is there and I'm there to make him a better player. Who else do they have at quarterback on their roster? I'm going to make him better too. I'm going there to compete."

Confident. There's a reason for that, rather several reasons.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Harnish had a crazy good career with the Huskies. He set 30 Northern Illinois passing, rushing and total offense records in four years as the Huskies' starting quarterback. This guy was no joke.

He led NIU to a 22-5 record in his final two seasons as a starter. Last season, he threw for 3,216 yards and 28 TDs and ran for 1,379 and 11 touchdowns. Yes, a lot of Harnishing.

He was just the fourth player in Football Subdivision history to pass for at least 2,500 yards and rush for 1,200 in a season. Texas' Vince Young, Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour and Nevada's Colin Kaepernick were the others.

He was the first quarterback in Huskies' history to lead Northern Illinois to four straight bowl games.

It doesn't stop there.

Look at these numbers: he threw for 8,944 career yards on 687-of-1,110 passing for a 61.9 completion percentage with 26 interceptions and 68 touchdown passes. He rushed for 2,983 yards on 538 carries with 24 touchdowns and averaged 5.5 yards per carry. He compiled 11,927 yards of total offense to rank third all-time in the Mid-American Conference behind Marshall's Byron Leftwich and LeFevour.

Last season, he led the Huskies to three come-from-behind wins in which they trailed by at least 13 points.

"We were able to do some nice things there," Harnish said in a humble tone.

For all his confidence, Harnish became unsure of being picked, as the NFL Draft was nearing its end on Saturday. He was at his cousin's house in Boston, Indiana when the call came from the Colts just before the final pick.

"I was shocked," Harnish said. "I was unbelievably surprised, yet elated. Indianapolis has been my hometown team. My grandparents have had season tickets. To get the call from them is just unbelievable."

Harnish excelled at Norwell High in Ossian, Indiana, before going to Northern Illinois. He played quarterback and safety in high school.

"I'm a country boy," Harnish said.

Harnish said he had heard of Mr. Irrelevant before, but he was not aware of Irrelevant Week in Newport Beach, where the NFL Draft's final pick is roasted and toasted at parties and special events.

Harnish is expected to arrive in Orange County on June 24, according to the Irrelevant Week website,

The Kick-off Arrival Party is June 25, followed by the signature event on June 26: All-Star Lowsman Banquet at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa. At the banquet, Harnish will be presented with the Lowsman Trophy. It's like the Heisman, only the figurine is fumbling the ball with a troubled look on his face.

Mr. Irrelevant will also be a featured guest at Disneyland June 27 and Balboa Yacht Club June 28. Melanie Salata-Fitch, Paul's daughter and CEO of Irrelevant Week, says Harnish loves golf and she might plan a golf tournament.

Some of the parties in the Irrelevant Week's history have been epic. David Vobora went to the Playboy Mansion in 2008. They might be more toned down this year.

A lady from New York posted a video on YouTube offering a special night for Mr. Irrelevant. She'll have no chance with Harnish.

Sorry ladies. He said he might bring his girlfriend during Irrelevant Week and they have a serious relationship.

He said he's ready for the roasting and the week of fun.

"It feels great to be Mr. Irrelevant," Harnish said. "I think it's a great award. It may carry a name some people might not like. I just feel great to be drafted. It was a dream come true."

Twitter: @SteveVirgen

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