TAMPA† ó† Former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell was one of several NFL prospects participating in the State Farm College All-Star Challenge taping Monday afternoon at University of Tampaís Pepin-Rood Stadium, an annual skills competition that has coincided with Super Bowl week for 10 years (The broadcast will be shown on ESPN Saturday from 4-6 p.m.).
Harrell threw for a total of 10,260 yards and 86 touchdowns in two years as a starter in the Red Raiders pass-happy offense.
Before winning the accuracy competition Monday, Harrell ó who is the fifth-rated quarterback prospect by ESPN and a graduate of Ennis High School and son of EHS coach Sam Harrell and his wife Kathy ó took a minute to speak about the Senior Bowl, rooting for underdogs and seeing himself in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniform.
Q. Have you ever done anything like this skills competition before?
A. Never. It will be a good time. Itís just a chance to meet some guys and have some fun and be in a great city like Tampa.
Q. You came here straight from the Senior Bowl this weekend. How was that experience?
A. It was a good time, a long week and long days. Sunday all the way through the game itís mentally a grind. It was a good week.. I got to meet a lot of the coaches. I think that was the best thing. They get to meet you and see how you are on and off the field, get a feel for you.
Q. So whatís your prediction for this weekís game?
A. Iím a Kurt Warner fan. I would take the Cardinals. Are they the underdogs?
Q. Like seven-point underdogsÖ
A. Yeah, Iíll take them. You always pull for the underdogs. The Steelers are tough though. It will be a tough task for the Cardinals, but Iíll be pulling for them.
Q. Were there any quarterbacks you grew up admiring?
A. Iíve always been a fan of Drew Brees. I like the way he plays and heís a Texas boy. Heís not a huge guy, he doesnít have a huge arm but he just knows how to play the game. Another guy I like is Tom Brady. I like having the ball in my hands in the fourth quarter. I grew up a (Joe) Montana fan and thatís what he was great for. When the gameís on the line, Tom wants the ball and he usually wins.
Q. You know, here in Tampa they could be shopping for a new quarterback. What do you think about that?
A. Tampa could be my dream city, man. I love the heat. I love the south. Florida is a great place. Tampa could be my dream city, so do all you can to promote me I guess.
Q. Itís a little different than Lubbock, huh?
A. Just a little.
Eduardo A. Encina is St. Petersburg Times staff writer. Reprinted with permission.