Caesar Rodney High School graduate Duron Harmon recently finished his first collegiate football season at Rutgers University, where he played sparingly on defense but was an important part of the special teams unit.
With his first season as a collegiate football player behind him, Duron Harmon is working to prove his worth to Rutgers University.
Harmon, a 2009 Caesar Rodney High School graduate, appeared in 12 of the Scarlet Knights’ 13 games this season, regularly contributing on special teams and also helping as a backup defensive back.
The former Rider contributed in all nine wins, including the Rutgers season finale, a 45-24 victory over the University of Central Florida in the St. Petersburg Bowl Dec. 19.
Things didn’t come easy in the freshman season for the 6-foot-1-inch, 200-pound Harmon, who said there was a major adjustment period in the transition from high school to college football.
“It was a big adjustment because of the speed and size of the players,” he said. “You’re not the best player out there anymore. It’s just getting adjusted to the style of the game that was the hardest part.”
Harmon was able to move up the depth chart for the Scarlet Knights through hard work and dedication this season, but said he’s still a long way from where he’d like to be.
“I’m looking to try and make more of an impact with the team next year,” he said. “I think I can take on a bigger load next year, so I’ll try to show the coaches I’m ready for that.”
Many Caesar Rodney fans more than likely remember Harmon as the featured running back on the 2008 state championship team, where he and current Rider Malcolm Yowk created a nearly unstoppable rushing attack.
Harmon, however, also was a defensive back for CR and was named the state’s defensive player of the year in his senior season, eventually riding that position to Rutgers.
Now that he only has one side of the ball to focus on, things have actually gotten more difficult, as the preparation for defense in college is much greater than all the preparation combined at the high school level.
“Focusing just on defense this year was tough,” Harmon said. “The whole mindset was way different than high school. There’s film, preparing and meetings; it might have been harder just focusing on defense. High school, you just went out there and played. It’s not like that anymore.”
The road in his first season was not an easy one either, as tough teams like Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Connecticut and West Virginia made up a piece of Rutgers’ schedule.
Instead of being intimidated by the high-profile colleges, though, Harmon said it was a confidence builder to play against those schools.
“It was good because it let me know that now only are there other great players out there, but I’m also a good player because I’m playing against the best teams in the country,” he said.
Then there was that other aspect of moving from high school to college — the academics.
Harmon said the football schedule combined with class, homework and exams was overwhelming off the bat, and required serious focus to make it all work.
“Rutgers has a wonderful staff academically and athletically to make the adjustment smoother,” he said. “It took time, but I got it.”
At the close of his first season, Harmon compiled nine total tackles — three of the solo variety — and one fumble recovery, which came in a Nov. 12 game televised on ESPN against the University of Southern Florida.
The following night, Harmon was in attendance at the Caesar Rodney-Dover High football game, and was able to receive some compliments from those who watched him in high school and saw the big play on TV.
“It felt good because it was something that I helped my team with,” he said. “All my friends from back home were watching, and that’s cool because I’m trying to represent my state. Then at the CR game, a lot of people came up and said they saw my play on TV. It was funny.”
Email Brian Citino at firstname.lastname@example.org