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Harper one of several Wildcats anticipating NFL draft

By Joel Jellison

For most of the NFL Draft prospects, one would think waiting to hear their named called would be a nerve-racking experience.

That’s not the case for Kansas State wide receiver Chris Harper.

Harper, who led the Wildcats with 58 receptions for 857 yards and three touchdowns, said it’s been a long time since he’s been nervous about anything.

“I think I’m weird because I don’t get nervous,” he said Wednesday. “I remember the last time I got nervous — I was in third grade playing little league football. I haven’t been since then.”

Harper is one of several Wildcats who could hear their name called in the coming days as the draft begins tonight with the first round on ESPN. The second and third rounds are on Friday, with Rounds 4-7 on Saturday.

Linebacker Arthur Brown is a projected first-round selection, while fullback Braden Wilson, quarterback Collin Klein and defensive end Meshak Williams could all go in the next few days.

Since the season ended in January at the Fiesta Bowl, Harper has been training to prepare for the various steps along the way, including the Senior Bowl, NFL Combine and the pro day in Manhattan.

Throughout the process, Harper said he has the chance to meet with representatives from each of the league’s 32 teams.

“Its been cool, its been long, but not like a long drawn out process, just a lot of work has been done as far as training,” he said. “I met with someone from every team. Some coaches or scouts will call you for information, but that’s really the process.”

The K-State wide receiver drew comparisons to San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin throughout the process leading up to the draft, a player that can use his combination of size, speed and athleticism to make an impact on the field.

But Harper said he sees himself as more like Houston Texans wideout Andre Johnson, who is considered to be among the best in the league.

“I’m a complete player,” he said. “I think the guy I’m most like would be Andre Johnson. A lot of people will say Boldin because he’s physical, but they don’t see him taking on the defense like I do.”

Harper has fallen between the third and fifth rounds in most mock drafts, but he said teams have indicated to him he belongs as early as the second round.

Throughout the process, the Wichita native said he hasn’t paid much attention to the mock drafts available online.

“I don’t pay attention to the guys that make the mock drafts because they don’t draft the players,” he said. “Most teams kind of have me in the second round. I’d honestly be surprised if I went past that.”

Harper gained some extra attention this past week when some of the wonderlic test scores from the combine were leaked to the public. Harper’s score of 33 was leaked because it was the highest among participants.

The K-State senior said he wasn’t surprised at all.

“I had the highest score and the thing was they don’t even let us know the score, the information gets leaked out and that’s the way everyone finds out,” he said. “I’ve always scored high when I take it, so I knew I would get a high score.”

Because of K-State’s typically conservative offensive approach, Harper said he believes he has a lot to show once he reaches the NFL stage.

Harper said he believes he is the best wide receiver available in this weekend’s draft.

“Teams only get to see what they get to see on film, they don’t get to see our whole practice, they don’t get to watch all the scrimmages, all they get to see is the games,” he said. “With us not throwing like other teams, they have a small sample size. I definitely think if I get the chance, I’ll be able to show them what I’m capable of.”

No matter which day he gets drafted, Harper said he plans to cap the weekend with a Saturday get together with family and friends. He said it will be a low-key event, with plenty of people to celebrate his future going forward.

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