The numbers are incongruous with the ability level: 24 receptions, 236 yards, two touchdowns. Two teammates had the same number of catches, for more yards, as Greenwich tight end Scooter Harrington.
Yet Harrington caused a stir last week when he became the latest of an elite few FCIAC football players to sign a National Letter of Intent with a major college. Harrington, who had previously given a verbal commitment to Boston College, opted instead to attend Stanford, which had been courting him since prior to the start of his junior season and retained interest throughout the process.
“Stanford offered me about two weeks ago and had me up for an official visit and I really just fell in love with the school, and liked the way the kids interacted with each other and just how cohesive a group it was,” Harrington said. “It is a really tremendous opportunity. I always knew Stanford was a great opportunity, and seeing how their year went this year and getting to know the coaches better through phone calls was a big thing for me. They kept recruiting me and telling me they wanted me at their school.”
Harrington’s father played for and his mother attended Boston College, but they also lived in the San Francisco area, where Harrington was born, for 15 years.
“I have a lot of respect for Boston College, the coaches, the football team; it’s really a great school and a great football program,” Harrington said. “Stanford, just going out there for my official visit, was a special experience. Coaches were really accepting of me. How humble all the guys were after winning the Rose Bowl, coming up and introducing themselves to all the recruits. Seeing how they were so welcoming.”
Ironically, Harrington’s announcement came the day after the FCIAC’s other top recruit, New Canaan left tackle Lucas Niang, announced he would be going for TCU.
Harrington has a huge upside and is a good fit for Stanford, which employs multiple tight end sets. John Marinelli, who just finished his first season as the Greenwich coach, said Harrington’s numbers this past season are easy to account for.
“Scooter is one of the best players I’ve been around, if not the best from a position of natural talent,” Marinelli said. “I know a lot of people look at stats. We didn’t have a quarterback who could throw him the football last year. We weren’t that type of offense. We had a really good offensive line and a really good running back, and Scooter was used more like an offensive lineman.
“Scooter is incredible, his form, his technique, his coachability. We split him out wide, tried to throw him the ball as much as we could. My biggest regret is we had a kid, 6-5, 240 pounds, he can run, he’s athletic and I didn’t throw him the ball. Only caught 24 balls. That’s crazy. That’s my one biggest regret since I came to Greenwich. He picked up the most complex offense in high school football and he picked it up in like a week and was a coach for us.”
Marinelli, who came to Greenwich after serving as the offensive coordinator at New Canaan, speculated what would have happened if Harrington had played with someone like Michael Collins, the Rams’ All-State quarterback.
“If Scooter Harrington had Michael Collins he would have been the leading receiver in the state,” Marinelli said. “There’s not one person in the state who could cover him one on one. Put two guys on him and he’s still open because he’s 6-5 and can jump out of the gym. He’s going to do amazing things out there.”
Harrington last month played in the Under Armour All-America High School Football Game.
He said there were other intangibles that swayed his decision to attend Stanford.
“They have everything, facilities, the best technology to go with it, new technology that they are experimenting with like virtual reality,” Harrington said. “It was appealing to me. Seeing how they incorporate school into the football team.”
Harrington said despite being underused offensively as a senior — he also was third in sacks for Greenwich — he is prepared for the challenges ahead.
“Coach Marinelli was great this year, along with receivers coaches, developing my game into being able to block and being able to make plays downfield,” Harrington said. “I really think I learned more in the past year than I had in the past 15, soaking up knowledge from the coaches who were around me. I think it is a good segue.”