Harrington, 20, graduated from VC in 2010 and had intended on going to UL where his father, Greg, also went. That was until he heard from Nicholls State head coach ...., who invited Harrington to walk on in Thibodaux.
“I grew up going to UL games with my dad,” said Harrington. “I was going to walk on there, but it wasn’t a sure thing. Walking on at Nicholls wasn’t a sure thing either, but it seemed like I had a better chance to make the team there.
“I think everybody who plays high school football has dreams of playing in college and the NFL. I got to live out that opportunity.”
After redshirting his freshman year at Nicholls, Harrington saw playing time in 10 games on special teams. He is currently the second-string middle linebacker for the Colonels. But, he said, he is happy to be where he is and credits his dedication while at VC for putting him in position to continue playing.
“Football was basically my life in high school,” said Harrington. “They always have a lot of summer sports going on like summer baseball and summer basketball. But, all those coaches knew that I wasn’t going to be out there for the summer sports because I was so focused on football every day. I’d go work out in the morning for football and then be back at the field in the afternoon doing extra stuff every day.”
Harrington said he put in the work not only so he might continue his career in college, but to help his the Eagles succeed as well.
He said his high school career had its ups and downs, but it was all worth it in the end.
“My freshman and sophomore years we won our district championship,” he said, “But in my junior year we had an incredibly disappointing season. We went 0-10.”
Harrington said things improved in his senior season, as the Eagles went 4-7 with a playoff appearance, losing to West St. John.
“We did have, statistically, the best defense in our district. So, that was something that, as a defensive player, I was still proud of,” he said.
Harrington still returns to VC to help out with summer programs and strength and conditioning. He said he has gotten to be friends with new VC head coach Roch Chapentier.
“Him being a quarterback, you know, he’s a little string bean,” he said laughing, “so, he usually leaves the strength training to me.”
In a more serious tone, though, Harrington said he believes the Eagles are in good hands.
“He really knows his football,” he said. “Especially having been a quarterback in college. He knows how to run an offense.”
Now, though, Harrington’s summer work at VC is finished. He spent the last couple of weeks in minicamp at Nicholls, starting at middle linebacker in place of the Colonels’ injured starter, who will be back for the season. Harrington knows he’s going to remain in the backup role, for now.
“Last year we were really deep at linebacker,” he said. “I’ll definitely get a lot more playing time this season.”
Harrington said it was difficult for him to get to this point in the college game, but that he is starting to get comfortable.
“Everything is faster about playing in college,” he said. “In meetings we cover so much material... The learning curve is faster. The game speed is faster. The athletes you’re playing against are faster. You’ve got to learn on the fly.
“The last couple of seasons I just knew I was supposed to be in the middle of the field dropping back. But now, I can see what (route) a receiver is going to run.”
Harrington played mostly on kickoffs last year. Though he said he was happy to have that chance, he’s ready to contribute more.
“I can’t wait to actually be in the game instead of just running down the field one time and trying to make a tackle and that’s it,” he said. “I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
Nicholls, which went 1-10 last season, was ranked last in the Southland Conference in both the recent coaches’ poll and SID poll. The day after the polls came out, Harrington said his head coach had them going through extra paces at 6 a.m.
“You could tell he had seen it,” he said. “He was fired up and ready to go.”
Harrington pointed out, though, that the preseason polls are inevitably based solely on the results of the previous year. He said, though,that the news of the disrespect only serves to light a fire under the Colonels.
“It’s definitely motivating us to get after it,” he said.
Besides, as at 5-feet-9-inches and 220 pounds, Harrington said he is used to being underestimated.
“It’s not always fun chasing those little skinny receivers around,” he said. “But, when I can read the route ahead of time I can get over there.”
Harrington said that, when Nicholls opens the season at Oregon State on Sept. 1, the Colonels will be looking for redemption.
“They got beat to start the season last year by an FCS school,” he said. “So, we’re thinking, ‘Why not us.’”
Harrington is majoring in education. He is also working on his personal training certification in hopes of becoming a strength coach. He is the son of Greg and Sheila Harington and the brother of Kennedy Harrington.