Los Angeles Preps: James Harper

Hard work paying off for Crespi's Harper

October, 18, 2011
10/18/11
7:03
PM PT


ENCINO -- It appears to be a typical afternoon of football practice at Crespi. The first player to emerge from the locker room is Chris Harper. The senior receiver makes a beeline to the adjacent field. Right then and there, you get the sense that things are far from normal.

There is work to be done, and apparently, Harper is intent on being first in line for reps.

Chris Harper
Courtesy of Angela MeansCrespi's Chris Harper has 10 touchdown receptions this season, ranking among the state's top 10.
A few teammates walk and talk on their way to practice. Some individuals lightly jog. However, there does not seem to be a sense of urgency. That is, until Harper decides it's time to speed up the process. Some choice words of encouragement follow. He is ready to get started.

A grueling session ensues. The drills seemingly are never-ending -- too many to count.

More than three hours later, the sun is beginning to set. Practice has been finished for the better part of 30 minutes. Most of his teammates are long gone at this point. Nevertheless, Harper is at midfield, fine tuning his skill set with a group of Celts' assistant coaches.

His work ethic is relentless. Unwavering. On a different level from everyone else.

The resolve Harper exhibits during the week in preparation for game day separates him from his peers. That type of sheer determination is paying off underneath the Friday night lights, of course, and has Harper on the verge of adding his name to the Southland's list of premier prospects.

“I let my actions speak for themselves, there is always ways to get better, to improve, that's why I never take a day off, or a play off,'' Harper said. “Nothing in life comes for free. I was always taught that if you want something bad enough, you half to work for it. That's just the way I am.''

The strategy has worked out particularly well for Harper so far. Full steam ahead.

He has been largely, although not solely responsible for the fast start at Crespi (6-1 overall) this season. The Celts are No. 14 in the ESPNLosAngeles.com Top 25 rankings as they head into Friday's Serra League showdown against No. 16 La Puente Bishop Amat (5-2).

“You can see it in his eyes, Chris is a different person once he steps on the field,'' Crespi coach Jon Mack said. “He has bought it to what we're doing here. He's a leader, in every sense.

“What people might not know about him is, he's great student with a GPA well over 3.0. He has no issues in the classroom. There are no roadblocks in his future. When you think about what it means to be a student-athlete at Crespi, Chris Harper if one of the first kids that comes to mind.

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