Basha High School senior Micah Harper has big aspirations for how he wants to be remembered as he heads into his final season with the Bears’ football program.
But it doesn’t completely revolve around football.
“I want to be seen as a great role model to the campus, the students and all the teachers,” Harper said. “I just want to leave behind a strong legacy for this school.”
Harper has excelled in the classroom at Basha, maintaining a cumulative 3.55 GPA leading up to his senior year. He scored a 26 on the ACT, well-above the national average of 20.8.
His determination in the classroom has transitioned to the gridiron, where Harper has become one of the top defensive backs in the state.
Together, those his academics and football skills have peaked the interest of some of the top academic institutions in the country, most of which have offered full scholarships.
“It’s a blessing,” Harper said. “Not every kid gets an opportunity like this so I’m enjoying every moment I have.”
Rated by 247Sports as a three-star defensive back, Harper had 56 total tackles, including 3 for loss, 5 pass breakups and 2 interceptions last season as a junior. A strong showing in offseason passing tournaments also helped boost his recruitment. He currently has received offers from Ivy League schools Princeton, Dartmouth, University of Pennsylvania and Yale.
He’s also received offers from all three military academies – Army, Navy and Air Force – as well as Brigham Young University, Syracuse and Nevada, the latter of which he recently visited.
“I liked it a lot,” Harper said of Nevada. “You really feel the love the coaching staff has for you.”
Harper has been recruited to Nevada by class of 2019 Chandler High safety Avery Carrington and Centennial High cornerback Kieran Clarke, both of whom signed with Nevada last year.
As of right now, Harper aims to announce his commitment sometime between the middle and end of the 2019 season. He said he wants to sign during the early signing period in December.
For now, he plans to turn his attention to the upcoming season and start fresh for the Bears.
“It’s a new year, it’s a new team,” Harper said. “Just the whole process of starting over for a new year is really fun. I’m looking forward to it.”
Harper hopes to be named the Two-Way Player of the Year this season, as he will see time at slot receiver and running back on offense, as well as cornerback and safety on defense. Fellow senior Camden Mateen will join him in two-way duties. Mateen will lineup at wideout and cornerback.
On offense, the two will be targeted by quarterback Gabe Friend, who took over as the full-time starter near the midway point of the season last year. A plethora of other talent across the board will create opportunities for Basha on both sides of the ball, an aspect Harper looks forward to as the start of the season approaches.
“I feel like our athletes can compete with some of the best in the state,” Harper said. “We have a good group of guys coming back as a core. We are going to be straight.”
As one of the returning seniors, Harper said he has been challenged by Basha coach Chris McDonald and the rest of the staff to lead by example both on and off the field.
So far, he’s been able to do just that.
“I talk to coach a lot about my goals and the legacy I plan to leave here at Basha,” Harper said. “Aside from academics, my goal is to be a great team leader.”