Chandler Harnish is living the life countless young boys have dreamed of growing up. He was a high school football star recruited to play major college football and then was drafted to his hometown NFL team to play quarterback. He was the final selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, earning the annual moniker, “Mr. Irrelevant”. Being drafted has just been a step so far in Harnish’s career as it followed a decorated college football career at Northern Illinois University. He was a four-year starter who led the Huskies to a bowl game all four years. On top of that, he earned the MAC Conference MVP in 2011 and was named First-Team All-MAC in 2010 and 2011. However, there is still so much people don’t know about Chandler that he was kind enough to speak with us about.
TBF: You seem to embrace the “Mr. Irrelevant” title. Is that the case? What impact has, not only being drafted, but becoming the last pick of the 2012 NFL Draft had on you?
Chandler: Yeah, I embraced it. I never really thought much of it, though. I was just excited to get drafted and become a Colt.
TBF: What all did you get to do for “Mr. Irrelevant Week”?
Chandler: I got a free paid vacation to California, and I took my family, too. I went to the NFL Network, Disney World and went yachting – great time.
TBF: What would you say you bring to the team?
Chandler: Leadership, poise, play-making ability, dedication, discipline and loyalty.
TBF: What has been your “Welcome to the NFL” moment so far?
Chandler: First practice up against Freeney and Mathis, throwing to Wayne. It was a dream come true for a lifetime Colts fan.
TBF: Which veteran(s) have helped you the most so far?
Chandler: Drew Stanton, back up QB last year – great player and even better person.
TBF: How will the presence of Matt Hasselbeck help you and Andrew Luck develop your game?
Chandler: Matt seems to be a great guy, highly respected and smart. I only look to continue to improve my game by leaning on him and learning how he does things. I definitely plan to compete against him and see where the chips fall – excited to work with him.
TBF: What goals do you have for the 2013 season?
Chandler: Compete as if I am the starting QB and prepare like it. Continue to improve everyday and help the team in any way I can. I also want to continue to become more of a leader and spiritual influence with the team.
TBF: Which was a better feeling – your current team, the Colts, in the playoffs or your college team, Northern Illinois, in the Orange Bowl? Was either loss more disappointing than the other?
Chandler: Colts in the playoffs, no doubt…however, I was very excited for my former Huskies. It was a great season with a lot of great people – jealous I couldn’t be there though, as we were preparing for the playoffs.
TBF: Who were your favorite NFL player and favorite NFL team growing up?
Chandler: Peyton Manning and the Colts.
TBF: What is your most cherished memory playing football?
Chandler: Winning the MAC championship senior year of college at NIU.
TBF: What do you like to do during the offseason?
Chandler: Train, vacation/travel, hang with fam and friends.
TBF: Do you still live in your hometown during the season and offseason?
Chandler: Spend a majority of my time in the Chicagoland area. I still take grad classes at NIU and the training facility is close, also.
TBF: What do you see yourself doing after football? Do you see retired players in the broadcast booth or on ESPN and it peaks your interest?
Chandler: I see myself doing something in football whether that’s training young QB’s, maybe commentating or maybe financial advising for athletes. I’m definitely going to finish my MBA at NIU.
TBF: You are regarded as the best quarterback in NIU football history. Being from a smaller town in Indiana and now being drafted to your hometown professional football team, how has that changed you as a person, if it has? Has it changed the way people treat you?
Chandler: I am still treated the same way by most. People know that I have not changed and never will. Someday the game will leave you before you are ready to leave the game. I am trying to create a legacy, and turning into someone I’m not would go against everything I stand for.
TBF: What is something that the fans don’t know about you that you would like them to know?
Chandler: I grew up on a farm and sell sweet corn every summer – love the country lifestyle.
We would like to thank Mr. Harnish again for taking the time for us fans to get to know him a little better. It is safe to say that Chandler is not satisfied by just being in the NFL – he wants to further make a name for himself and help his team the best way he can. You can follow Chandler on twitter @CHarnish8. Good luck to Chandler heading into the 2013 season!