Valley’s Jay Harper announces his commitment to Wisconsin

Published 6:36 pm Monday, June 19, 2023

After a long recruitment, Valley football and basketball star Jay Harper has made a decision on where he wants to spend the next four years. 

Jay Harper announced on his Twitter on Tuesday that he is committed to play for the Wisconsin Badgers at the next level. 

“A week or two ago I went down there, I just fell in love with it,” Jay Harper said. “Fell in love with the place, the people, the coaches, and the current players.” 

Harper will be committing to play for Wisconsin’s Head Coach Luke Fickell. Fickell has been known for producing high level defensive back talent. That was shown at Cincinnati with the development of Sauce Gardner. 

“I’m real excited to work with Coach Fick,” Harper said. “I love what he did at Cincinnati with Sauce Gardner and Coby Bryant. I wanna be Jay Harper, but ya know it wouldn’t hurt to take a little bit of their game and add it to mine.” 

Up until a few weeks ago, Jay’s recruitment was still up in the air. With so many Power Five offers on the table, Harper was swayed by one visit. 

“I just went down there ya know and had a great time with the coaching staff,” Harper said. “I just really like what Coach Fick and Coach [Paul] Haynes are doing with the program.” 

The recruitment process has been going on for Jay since he was a sophomore in high school.

“It’s real exciting to be able to commit to a place,” Harper said. “Been doing this recruitment thing since, I say the end of 10th grade. I just enjoyed the process and it was real fun.” 

Harper joins a class at Wisconsin that already includes three other defensive backs, but Jay is just the first cornerback to commit to play for Wisconsin in the 2024 recruiting class.

One thing that Harper was excited for with Wisconsin was the opportunity to play against quality competition in the Big 10. 

Now that Jay has officially committed to a school, he is excited for the opportunity to focus on his game and work with his team for the upcoming season. 

“I can focus on getting better,” Harper said. “We just focused on winning. We just gotta make the playoffs and go make some noise, make something shake in the playoffs. That’s our goal.” 

As a multi-sport athlete, Harper’s work on the football field is largely influenced by his experience on the basketball court. At one point, his dream was to go to the NBA. Now, he uses his basketball skills to improve his ability as a defensive back. 

“With basketball you know you have to play defense and move your feet,” Harper said. “When I am playing DB I just think of myself playing basketball, I have been doing that my whole life.”

Even with the opportunities on the table, Harper still is not getting complacent in his work ethic and constant improvement. Harper is working on taking the next step in his development physically and as a leader. 

“I’m just working on getting faster and stronger,” Harper said. “If you want to play in college you have to be able to run faster and tackle with the best. I used to just lead by example, but I will definitely have to be a little more vocal this year.”