Stuart Harvey, a Carmel native and a former wide receiver for the Butler University football team, is looking to become the second Butler player in two years to make it to the National Football League.
After Harvey graduated from Butler in 2011 with a degree in psychology, he decided not to go straight to the NFL but, instead, to take a year off to prepare himself.
Harvey contacted St. Vincent Sports Performance and signed with a sports agent to begin his path to the NFL.
History is against Harvey. Not many players from the Pioneer Football League go on to the NFL.
“It’s hard,” said Kenan Smith, Butler assistant coach and wide receiver coach. “It’s really hard coming from our level of football.
“It’s so hard to make it from non-scholarship FCS football to the next level, but there are rare occasions where it has been done.”
Harvey said he will not let history prevent his lifelong dream. He said he believes he has the characteristics of a successful NFL player.
“I’ve never been the biggest guy or the strongest guy in the weight room,” Harvey said, “but I was always fast, a hard worker, had good hand-eye coordination and was willing to out-work everyone to be the best.
“That’s how I became team captain in high school, and that’s why I was successful at Butler.”
Harvey said his work ethic is already at an NFL level.
“His work ethic will transfer to the NFL,” said Brandon Johnson, a performance specialist at St. Vincent. “He brings it every day and works hard.”
Butler football and the Butler Way polished Harvey’s dedication to the sport.
“On and off the field, I’m a guy who is going to be committed to helping a team do their best and win games,” Harvey said. “I’m a guy that is focused and dedicated to being part of a team.”
Harvey said learning the Butler Way gives him an advantage over other NFL prospects.
“There are intangibles that go beyond my combine that (scouts) will see,” Harvey said. “My results at my combine and in my routes will speak for themselves, but there are ideologies and qualities off the field that you can’t really change.
“All my coaches and mentors along the way have built me into the person I am.”
Harvey remains confident he can make it to the next level.
“I’ve always believed in the mantra, ‘Everything is possible for those that believe,’” Harvey said. “When I was at Butler, I worked as hard as I could.
“Once I graduated, I knew I wanted to go to the NFL at some point. I played and graduated with Grant Hunter, a defensive end who signed as a free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals last year, so I knew it was possible to make it to the NFL.”
Hunter attended training camp for the Bengals in August 2012 but was cut during training camp.
For six weeks, Harvey has dedicated his time to St. Vincent Sports Performance.
Harvey used the program to improve his skills and prove to NFL scouts that he is serious about playing football at the professional level.
Since joining the program on Jan. 7, Harvey has been at St. Vincent five and half days per week.
During the week, Harvey works on his speed, positioning and strength work, said Greg Moore, a strength and conditioning specialist at St. Vincent.
Harvey worked on position work with current NFL players and former NFL players and coaches.
“Some days, I will be catching balls from Jim Sorgi, former Indianapolis Colts quarterback,” Harvey said.
Even with hard work and improvements gained out of St. Vincent, Harvey was not invited to the 2013 NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.
Although Harvey was not invited to the combine, he found ways to get his name out to NFL teams and scouts.
“My agent and I have been working together, and we sent my film out to numerous teams,” Harvey said.
The agent scheduled Harvey for NFL scouting combines in Chicago on March 10 and another combine in Seattle on March 24.
Harvey will also demonstrate his skills at Ball State University’s football pro day on March 20.
For the weeks leading up to the 2013 NFL draft, Harvey needs his skills and work ethic to impress NFL scouts, managers and coaches.
“It takes only one team to give you a shot,” Johnson said.
When the NFL draft concludes April 27, Harvey may end up being a late-round draft pick or an undrafted free agent.
He said his expectations have to be realistic.
“I’m someone that, if I get the opportunity, I’m going to make the most of it,” Harvey said. “No matter what team I’m on or where I end up, I know that I’m going to give them everything I have.
I’m going to stay dedicated and help the team win games.”