David Harvey’s life goal is to be an orthopedic surgeon and give injured athletes another chance. But while he studies pre-medicine at Ohio Northern University, he will also play football and jump for the track and field team.
“I just love the competitive nature of it — it just drives me,” said Harvey, who knows how demanding the classroom will be. “I couldn’t think of my life without sports.”
Harvey, who helped lead Mechanicsburg to three straight playoff appearances, signed a football letter of intent Thursday. ONU is coming off a 9-3 season and a Division III first-round playoff win in its first appearance since 2010.
“I like going to a confident and winning program,” he said. “I just want to help the program do better.”
Harvey was a first-team All-Ohio linebacker in Division VI, but he also excelled as a receiver with 35 career catches for 838 yards and eight touchdowns. As a 6-foot-3 leaper, he will play wide receiver or tight end.
“The first day we had him as a freshman and I saw him run and how smooth he was, I knew he was going to have a chance to play at the next level,” Mechanicsburg coach Kurt Forrest said. “His intelligence meshed with his flexibility and versatility allows him to do so many things.”
Harvey will also compete in the high jump and long jump. His best high jump is 6 feet, 5 inches. He was seventh in the state as a sophomore and eighth last year. His goal is to make it back and either tie or break the school record of 6-6. He was 11th in the state long jump last year. He has boosted his personal record this season by a foot to 21-5.
Harvey first visited ONU early in his junior year, then took an overnight visit six months ago. “I really like the feel of it,” he said. “It kind of felt like my hometown and was a real family atmosphere.”
His football teammate Wade Smiddy felt similarly about his visit to St. Catharine College, an NAIA Division II school in Kentucky. Smiddy, also a first-team all-district player as a defensive back, will wrestle in college for a program entering its fourth year.
“It’s pretty cool to go there and get a chance to build a program and build a winning tradition,” he said.
Smiddy reached the Division II state tournament as a freshman at Shawnee and placed fifth as a junior. He transferred to Mechanicsburg as a senior and placed second in Division III at 145 pounds. He will wrestle at 149 or 157 in college.