From a northern Indiana high school, to Northern Illinois University and now back to the capital of his home state, quarterback Chandler Harnish hasn’t had to travel very far to fulfill his lifelong dream.
Now, he shares that path with fellow Colts wide receiver Nate Palmer.
The Colts signed Palmer off the San Francisco 49ers practice squad on Monday and he and Harnish have been down a similar road in achieving the goal of playing in the NFL.
Palmer attended Elkhart Central High School and then headed to NIU with Harnish in the fall of 2007.
Both of them redshirted that season before playing vital roles with the Huskies in helping lead them to four straight bowl appearances.
“I was excited to get back with an old teammate,” Harnish said. “For him, being in his home state again, it’s exciting and to be on the active roster on top of that. Just a really happy moment for him.”
Harnish set numerous school records at NIU and credited Palmer for a lot of his success.
The two did not know each other directly in high school but once arriving on campus, it didn’t take long for the two to witness each other’s talent.
“Nate is a great player but an even better person,” Harnish said. “He’s a playmaker, plain and simple. He’s a fast guy. He’s done a lot of great things in his career and he loves the game. He understands the game of football and we got nothing but a great player.”
Palmer made 20 starts in his four years of playing at NIU and caught 93 balls for 1,575 yards while accumulating 200 yards on the ground.
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano talked about the Palmer pickup on his weekly radio show Monday evening.
“The way things fell we were going to look at taking him late (in the draft) but we had some other needs and went a different direction,” Pagano said.
“Our scouts and Ryan (Grigson) knew about him for a long time. He’s a 4.4 (40-yard dash) kid that can take the top off the defense. He’s got good hands. He’s explosive. He’s much like Donnie Avery.”
With wide receiver Austin Collie being placed on injured reserve, Palmer will get a chance to make an impact right away with the Colts.
For Harnish, it will seem like the beginning of college all over again.
“He made his presence known real quick at Northern,” Harnish said. “He’s just an unbelievable player and I think the sky’s the limit for that guy.”
Tags: austin collie, Chandler Harnish, chuck pagano, Nate Palmer
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