Nyckoles Harbor during his official visit. Harbor is a two-time District of Columbia Gatorade Football Player of the Year. (Photo courtesy of South Carolina Football)
South Carolina football has its first five-star recruit since 2020.
Nyckoles Harbor, out of Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C., committed to South Carolina on Feb. 1. Harbor chose the Gamecocks over schools such as Maryland, Michigan, Oregon and Alabama.
Harbor isn’t just a football star, though. He’s a high-level sprinter who holds the fastest 60-meter dash time in the United States this year, 6.64 seconds.
Archbishop Carroll head football coach Robert Harris has some advice for Gamecock fans regarding Harbor’s arrival.
“Just tell them to get the marching band ready, the popcorn and the pom-poms ready,” he said.
Harris also made note of Harbor’s character when asked what he’d bring to Columbia.
“He’s not just a great athlete,” Harris said. “He’s a great student, a great human being, and he’s gonna do well.”
According to 247 Sports, Harbor is the No. 19 football recruit in the nation and the No. 1 ranked athlete. The “athlete” position is applied to players who play both offense and defense.
“It’s an amazing program,” Harbor said in an interview with ESPN after he committed. “Coach (Shane) Beamer is building something different there. And you know, I just want to be a part of that.”
Versatility is one of Harbor’s biggest strengths. In high school, he lined up at wide receiver, tight end, defensive end and outside linebacker.
At 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, Harbor has the size and strength to compete at the next level, but he also possesses incredible athleticism. Beamer already has some ideas on how the team will use him.
“He’s an elite athlete,” Beamer said. “He doesn’t need to have his hand in the dirt, blocking defensive ends 50% of the time. We need him out in space, running routes and catching the football.”
Throughout Harbor’s recruitment, he made it clear that track would be a big factor in his decision. Harbor plans to compete in both sports when he arrives at South Carolina.
Curtis Frye, the head track and field coach for South Carolina, is just as excited about Harbor’s decision. He thinks the sky’s the limit for Harbor’s potential as a runner.
“It took 30 years between (Usain) Bolt and Carl Lewis,” Frye said. “It didn’t take 30 years to see this guy. I don’t think that anybody in this room, or even in the hotness of the internet, I don’t think they get it.”
The Olympics aren’t just a pipe dream for Harbor. Last year, as a junior in high school, he ran a 10.28-second 100-meter dash, a time that put him just 0.21 seconds off the Olympic qualifying standard at 17 years old.
Harbor is confident in his ability to balance both sports during his time with the Gamecocks.
“I’ve been doing it for four years,” he said. “That’s not the hard part. It makes it easier actually, with the nutritionist, the strength coach, you know, just the overall structure.”
Harbor is the first five-star recruit to commit to the South Carolina football program since Columbia native Jordan Burch, who was a member of the class of 2020 before transferring to Oregon. And he is the 7th-best recruit to ever commit to the school, according to 247 Sports.
He joins a recruiting class that is ranked 17th in the country, per 247’s class rankings, and includes players like South Carolina’s Mr. Football Xzavier McLeod and four-star South Florence High School quarterback LaNorris Sellers.
Elijah Caldwell, a three-star wide receiver from Rock Hill, also signed with the Gamecocks shortly before Harbor on Wednesday.
South Carolina’s football season kicks off Sept. 2 when the teams takes on North Carolina at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.