Monday, July 28, 2008

ACU adds Quarterback from Tulsa

Courtesy ACU Sports

ABILENE, Texas – Former University of Tulsa quarterback Clark Harrell announced Monday that he is transferring to Abilene Christian University and is already in Abilene preparing himself for the 2008 season.

"I'm in Abilene right now, and I'm going to ACU," Harrell said Monday afternoon. "This is a good place with good people, and I believe ACU will give me a great chance to succeed on the field as well as off the field. I've met great people here: the coaching staff, the faculty and my new teammates. Everyone has been great. There's a really good feel to this place.

"Harell joins an Abilene Christian team coming off back-to-back NCAA Division II playoff appearances. The Wildcats, who were 10-3 last season, have been ranked as high as No. 5 in the pre-season. They return the lethal offensive trio of senior quarterback Billy Malone (3,914 yards and 37 touchdowns through the air in 2007), senior running back Bernard Scott (2,165 yards and 39 touchdowns on the ground in 2007) and senior wide receiver Johnny Knox (1,158 yards and 17 touchdowns receiving in 2007).

Malone, a three-year starter at quarterback, is the all-time leading passer in Lone Star Conference history (8,799 yards) and, barring injury, will be the LSC's career leader in attempts, completions, touchdown passes, yards, passing yards per game, total offense and total yards per game at the end of the 2008 season. Malone is the fifth-leading active passer in all of NCAA football, regardless of division.

Harrell said despite his desire to play, he believes Malone's presence will be good for him and his future at ACU.

"It's a good thing that Billy is here and I don't have to come in right away and get on the field," he said. "It would be tough without knowing the offense to get out there right now. This will give me the chance to watch and learn from a guy who obviously knows the offense and knows what he's doing out there.

"ACU fourth-year head coach Chris Thomsen said adding a quarterback of Harrell's ability to the Wildcat roster will only strengthen his team. Besides Malone, ACU returns only one quarterback from last year, and this is redshirt freshman Zach Stewart. Oklahoma prep quarterback Mitchell Gale of Alva, Okla., will join the Wildcat roster in 2008 as a true freshman.

Harrell, Stewart and Gale will battle for the backup job in 2008 with the starting job up in the air in 2009.

"We're excited to have Clark here, in addition to the other three quarterbacks we have," said Thomsen, who is 22-12 in three seasons at ACU. "He'll come in and compete for the job behind Billy this year, and then he'll be a great guy to add to the competition for the starting job after Billy leaves.

"Harrell – whose parents both graduated from ACU – will be a sophomore in 2008 after sitting out the 2006 season as a redshirt at Tulsa. Last year he played in two games for the Golden Hurricane, but didn't complete a pass. He did, however, rush for 10 yards on two carries.

In the spring game in May he completed 10 of 13 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns before deciding to transfer.

Harrell was a high school standout at Ennis High School where he played for his father, Sam Harrell, the Ennis head coach. After missing most of his junior season with a broken foot, Harrell led his team to an 11-2 record and the regional championship game in his senior season (2005). He completed 323 of 464 passes for 3,924 yards and 39 touchdowns as a senior, leading Class 4A in passing.

He was named the District 14-4A MVP and earned first team all-district honors. He was injured in the first game of his junior season and missed the entire year. His older brother is record-setting Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell.

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