N.C. State wide receiver Kelvin Harmon does not remember much about his time in Liberia -- he came to the United States when he was 4 years old -- but he points to his Liberian ancestry for teaching him to work hard and be spiritual, two things he prides himself on. He also credits his father for helping instill the values of commitment and sacrifice in him as the family struggled culturally and financially upon moving to the U.S.
These experiences and lessons have shaped Harmon, a potential first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and will continue to guide him as he begins his professional football career.
“They’re definitely excited, just seeing the sacrifices pay off for me,” Harmon said of his parents during his press conference at the NFL Combine in March. “[My dad] is definitely my everything. He sacrificed a lot for me, having me at a young age, and he turned his life over for me and my brother, taught us the values of hard work and being respectful.”
Take a look at photos from Friday March 2, 2019 at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. Photos from NFL.
Harmon was a two-time All-ACC performer in three seasons at N.C. State. As a freshman in 2016, he compiled 462 yards on just 27 receptions -- good for 7.1 yards per catch -- and hauled in five touchdowns. He burst into the conference spotlight the next season with 69 catches, 1,017 yards and four touchdowns and saved his best campaign for his final year in Raleigh, N.C., earning first-team All-ACC honors with 81 catches, 1,186 yards and seven scores in 2018.
According to Kyle Crabbs of the Draft Network, Harmon “projects favorably as a prototypical X-receiver at the NFL level. He can defeat press coverage with his size and strength. Harmon's catch radius and contested abilities will lend themselves useful on the boundary and in the red zone. Harmon may not have dynamic, explosive speed, but he is terrific in traffic and he will present challenges with how well he addresses and extends for the football with his hands.”
One of Harmon’s biggest criticisms has been his lack of breakaway and explosive speed. At the NFL Combine, Harmon ran a 4.60 40-yard dash, which was 32nd out of all wide receivers at the combine. While his speed might not have been on display at the Combine, Harmon believes he is faster than a lot of people give him credit for.
“I definitely think I have great game speed,” Harmon said. “I play fast, I don’t waste a lot of movement, and I understand leverage on the DBs and how to attack them, so I definitely think my speed is an asset.”
Above all, Harmon believes his ball skills and mentality are what make him a dangerous receiver. Harmon likes to play fast and physical while fighting for the ball, similar to New Orleans Saints All-Pro Michael Thomas.
“Those 50-50 balls are normally 90-10 balls my way," Harmon said, "and if I don’t catch it, it’s not going to be an interception.”
While preparing for the draft, Harmon has been practicing at the Mamba Sports Academy in California. Harmon has mainly been practicing on speed drills, along with getting extra bench press reps in. While working at Mamba Academy, Harmon met legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant, who was his favorite player growing up.
"It’s definitely been a blessing preparing for this process," Harmon said. "It’s been a long couple months, but everything went well, and I thank my teammates and coaches at N.C. State…and the Mamba Sports Academy these last couple months for really helping me get ready for the opportunity."