Wolfpack star Harmon enters NFL draft, will skip Gator Bowl

Quarterback Ryan Finley is the next potential high round draft choice to decide on whether to play against Texas A&M on Dec. 31

NC State receiver Kelvin Harmon fights to break the tackle of Louisville's Anthony Johnson during a game earlier this season (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

  For the second straight year, a star NC State football player will skip his team’s bowl game in order to prepare for the upcoming NFL draft.

  Following in the footsteps of 2018 first round pick Bradley Chubb, junior wide receiver Kelvin Harmon announced Monday that he will enter the 2019 draft and will not play in the Wolfpack’s Gator Bowl game against Texas A&M on Dec. 31.

  “I have prayed and discussed the path forward with my family and we have decided that it is time for me to proceed to the next chapter in my football life,” said Harmon, a first-team All-ACC choice. “That chapter will be playing professional football in the National Football League.

  “To this end, I am relinquishing my college eligibility, effective immediately, and declaring myself a professional. I will not be playing in the upcoming Gator Bowl, but my support for my teammates will go unchanged.”

  Harmon’s decision to go pro is anything but a surprise. He participated in State’s Senior Night ceremony before the team’s game against Wake Forest on Nov. 9, though at the time said he was still undecided about his future.

  Harmon finishes his Wolfpack career with 177 catches for 2,665 yard, marks that rank fourth and third in school history. His 1,186 yards in 2018 ranks fourth in school history for a single season.  

  “We are proud of Kelvin and all that he’s accomplished in his career,” coach Dave Doeren said. “We wish him the best as he prepares for the next level.”

  Even without Harmon in the lineup, State should still have plenty of receiving options available against the Aggies in Jacksonville. The question now is whether quarterback Ryan Finley will be the one throwing the ball to them.

  Finley, a senior also projected as a high round pick, was noncommittal when asked after Saturday’s 58-3 win against East Carolina if he’s thought about skipping the bowl.

  “I really haven’t,” he said. “I was just focused on the season and just excited how I was able to finish.”

  Pressed further about his decision, the first-team All-ACC selection hinted that he’s leaning toward playing, saying  “Yeah, I’m planning on it for sure.”