What’s happened to Brigham Harwell?


It’s not just about blowing games for Karl Dorrell, it’s about blowing careers, too.

I’m not a football coach, but you don’t have to be to tell that Brigham Harwell is playing out of position at UCLA. Harwell’s senior year at Los Altos was my first year on the beat. I only got to physically cover his games twice and I got to interview him multiple times for his Player of the Year and Signing Day articles. Harwell told me before he told anyone that he was going to UCLA. Fox Sports Net showed up at 8 a.m. at Los Altos to get footage of Harwell deciding between UCLA and Arizona State on the morning of Signing Day. But, Harwell had told me before any media outlet that he was going to UCLA. It was in that morning’s paper hours before he decided to let LA’s mainstream media know.

That’s the best scoop I’ve ever had. He did it because the Tribune had given him great coverage and he was thankful. Also because coach Greg Gano is a class act. FSN wasn’t happy about the leak, but who cares? I liked Harwell, just like anybody who meets him does. He remains the best, most dominant defensive player I’ve ever seen in high school. For those reasons, and because I have a signed UCLA helmet from him as a token of appreciation, I am a huge fan of his. These days, however, I am a disgusted fan of his.

Harwell left high school as one of top prospects in the nation. The SGV has had big time recruits before, but nothing recently like Harwell. He was Top 20 in the country on most lists. He was the gem of UCLA’s recruiting class and a player unlike anything Dorrell often gets. Harwell was deciding between UCLA and ASU at a time when former Sun Devils defensive end Terrell Suggs was still fresh in the minds of PAC-10 fans. He’s now a Baltimore Raven. I was excited at the prospect of seeing Harwell play in my local media market. I was excited, just like any prep sports writer, to say “I covered that guy.” I’ve heard past Trib guys talk about covering Lawrence Phillips, Daylon McCutcheon, Jason David and so on. Harwell was going to be my guy.

Then, he arrived at UCLA. Then he got moved inside for some stupid reason. A finesse, pass rushing defensive end that dubbed himself (and I wrote it) “The Sackmaster” was moved inside. Not only is Harwell not big enough to play inside, his remarkable speed isn’t best utilized inside. Most schools prefer 320-pounders plugging up the middle. UCLA prefers a 275-pounder, who had to gain weight to get there, not lose it (as most interior linemen do).

Harwell has had his moments at UCLA, but it hasn’t been what it should’ve been. He hasn’t turned into the next Dwight Freeney or Terrell Suggs. Instead, he’s suffered through some injuries, some of which might be because he’s out of position. He’s suffered through playing a position that he splits time at. He’s suffered through Dorrell and staff making it so that one of the country’s former top recruits hasn’t matriculated into being the dominant force he could’ve been.

In a QB-happy conference like the PAC-1O, wouldn’t a speed rusher off of the edge be ideal for a defense? I wonder what might have happened to Harwell had he chosen ASU. Maybe they would’ve never tinkered with his position. Maybe he’d be considering leaving early after this season. Maybe he’d be the next Terrell Suggs.

Makes me sick!

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POSTGAME: Talk your smack or cry me a river …

They’re back!

CO downed Bo-Hi and it’s looking like a two-horse race in the Miramonte with D-Ranch.

Thursday’s results
Glendora 33, Chino 10 (I know, I was there. Glendora played possessed and Chino isn’t Chino anymore)
Duarte 56, La Puente 0 (It’s time for a temporary, one year only, league change for the Falcs. Mission Valley maybe?)
Covina 55, Baldwin Park 25 (The Colts are absolutely rolling now. McDonough is flat unreal.)
Crespi 35, Bishop Amat 14 (I got a halftime score for this and was pumped when I heard 14-14)
Los Altos 38, Wilson 14 (Wildcats are done; LA is still hanging by a thread)
Charter Oak 17, Bonita 14 (CO defense is starting to remind me of the 2000 Ravens)
Arroyo 27, Rosemead 23 (Fire Singiser!)
South El Monte 27, Mountain View 7 (The Eagles are starting to roll)
Rowland 52, Walnut 20 (I want to remind you all that Rowland is 7-1 and the only loss was to Glendora by a point)
South Hills 23, West Covina 3 (Don’t look at the record. Just know that SH is very good)
Damien 35, Diamond Bar 3 (Bring on Chino Hills)
Gabrielino 21, El Monte 15 (El Monte always does this)
Sierra Vista 12, Gladstone 0 (SV hadn’t been playing well on defense until tonight)
San Dimas 68, Ganesha 0 (Can’t split SD, NView or BP right now … they’re all taking turns on each other.)
Saturday’s game
Pomona 34, Northview 10 (hurts man)

Aram’s Baldwin Park vs. Covina thoughts: First of all, I want to say how impressed I was by the fan support Covina had. It might have been because of homecoming, but I hope that’s the type of crowd the Colts always get. To the game – it went just how I thought it would. Covina’s offense wasn’t stopped and it was going to take BP trading points to stay in it. Having said that, I was impressed with BP’s QB Angel Acevedo. He has some speed when he runs and he throws pretty well. I think that Coach Heggins has done a good job there. From where BP was to where they are now is nite and day (Al B. Sure). Anyway, what can you say about Covina? The offense is rolling again. Mike McDonough is a monster. This guy really just can’t be stopped. The Colts run the ball with him or Tre McNair or they throw it deep. There was no in between last nite. The funny thing is that whatever they wanted to do, they did. If they threw deep, then Brad Gomez was wide open. If they ran McD or McNair, then they got yards. Like Heggins said “Pick your poison.” As I’ve said before, outside of Amat or Damien, the rest of the SGV teams are dreaming if they think that Covina wouldn’t give them a game. Players like McD, McNair or Jamal James would play for anyone else in the Valley, no question. Everyone I’ve spoken to already has Covina penciled in to be playing Oaks Christian in the finals. I wish I knew what the rest of the division looked like. It seems to me that if Covina is the No. 2 seed, they’ll probably have to play Oak Park to get there. I wouldn’t go too crazy on postseason projections for the Colts yet because the rest of the division is a question mark that nobody can answer. Covina is very, very good, though.

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PREDICTION TIME: Make your picks here …

Today’s game
Sierra League

Glendora vs. Chino, Citrus Coll.
Montview League
La Puente at Duarte
Friday’s games
Christian League

Western Christian at Ontario Christian
Miramonte League
Charter Oak at Bonita
Wilson at Los Altos
Mission Valley League
Rosemead at Arroyo
El Monte at Gabrielino
South El Monte at Mountain View
Montview League
Azusa at Bassett
Gladstone vs. Sierra Vista, at Citrus Coll.
San Antonio League
South Hills at West Covina
Walnut at Rowland
Serra League
Crespi at Bishop Amat
Sierra League
Ayala at Chino Hills
Diamond Bar at Damien
Valle Vista League
Covina vs. Baldwin Park, at Covina District Field
Ganesha at San Dimas
Nonleague
Diamond Ranch vs. Nogales, at Ganesha HS
Saturday’s game
Northview vs. Pomona, at Ganesha HS

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The Weekly Aaron Harris OVER/UNDER Game …

“UNDER” backers are having a better season than those who follow Dr. Bob’s college football picks. Aaron Harris missed the over last week by a yard, which is a sign that Aram is hanging good numbers (finally). See what y’all can do with this week’s number against Covina.

THIS WEEK’S PROJECTED TOTAL vs. Covina: 90 1/2 yards

Week 1: 133 yards vs. Azusa UNDER
Week 2: 139 yards vs. West Covina OVER
Week 3: 156 yards vs. Sierra Vista UNDER
Week 4: 192 yards vs. El Monte UNDER
Week 5: 170 yards vs. Glenn UNDER
Week 6: 114 yards vs. San Dimas UNDER
Week 7: 169 yards vs. Pomona UNDER (by 1 yard)

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