When Tennessee standout Thomas Harper committed to Oklahoma State in June, he was — and to some services, he still is — considered a mid-to-low-two-star recruit.
Three months later, it seems he may turn out to be the steal of the 2019 recruiting class.
Harper, a 5-foot-11 athlete who plays both sides of the ball for Karns High School in Knoxville (where his older brother Devin, a current OSU linebacker, once starred), is already outplaying his previous ranking. In the months since his commitment he’s been bumped up by 247Sports to be a low three-star recruit, but that’s got more to do with his production than his OSU pledge.
And even three stars is a hard undersell for what he’s accomplished.
Through four games this season, Harper, playing both ends of the field, has posted video game numbers as a receiver and looked like Honey Badger-lite on defense. In those games, he’s logged 43 receptions, 731 yards receiving, and 10 touchdowns. And he’s committed to OSU as a defensive back.
That’s a cool 10.75 receptions, 182.75 yards receiving and 2.5 touchdowns per game. Per game. He’d be the No. 1 waiver wire pickup in your local PPR fantasy league.
Incredibly, Harper almost didn’t get discovered. The familial connection almost certainly played a role in him eventually getting uncovered, but it took a standout performance at an OSU camp this summer before he finally earned an offer.
“It surprised me for sure,” Harper told Pistols Firing of the offer and subsequent commitment back in June. “I thought I did well at camp, but it definitely surprised me when they offered. I was with my brother in the car when I got the call. He was going crazy.”
Fortunately, according to Harper, he “knew OSU was where” he wanted to go. So he waited out the offer, got it, and committed.
Say what you want about his 80.48 overall ranking by 247, or the fact that he’s OSU’s second-lowest ranked recruit for 2019 (behind a punter commit), but Harper is the real deal. The competition may not be Texas 6A, but he’s the absolute real deal.
So plead all you want, Knoxville fans hoping for a second scout at a once overlooked local prospect, but it seems Harper is set with Oklahoma State for the long haul. Which, by the game, is looking to be a stroke of genius by the coaching staff, recruiting rankings be damned.