Graham Harrell

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Graham Harrell
Graham Harrell1.jpg
Harrell with the Packers in August 2011.
No. 6     Green Bay Packers
Personal information
Date of birth: (1985-05-22) May 22, 1985 (age 28)
Place of birth: Brownwood, Texas
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)Weight: 215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school: Ennis (TX)
College: Texas Tech
Undrafted in 2009
Debuted in 2012 for the Green Bay Packers
Career history
*Offseason and/or practice roster member only
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Stats at
Stats at
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Graham Harrell
Graham Harrell1.jpg
Harrell with the Packers in August 2011.
No. 6     Green Bay Packers
Personal information
Date of birth: (1985-05-22) May 22, 1985 (age 28)
Place of birth: Brownwood, Texas
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)Weight: 215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school: Ennis (TX)
College: Texas Tech
Undrafted in 2009
Debuted in 2012 for the Green Bay Packers
Career history
*Offseason and/or practice roster member only
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Stats at
Stats at

Graham Stanton Harrell (born May 22, 1985) is an American football quarterback for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League, serving as first back-up to Aaron Rodgers. Harrell was signed in May 2010 after a brief stint in the Canadian Football League. He was on the practice squad for the first 13 games of the 2010 season before being signed to the active roster for the last three regular season games and the postseason. He started the 2011 season on the practice squad but was signed to the active roster prior to week 14. He played college football at Texas Tech University, where he was an All-American quarterback and set school, conference and national records for passing yards, attempts, completions, and touchdown passes.

Early years[edit source | edit]

Harrell played at Ennis High School in Ennis, Texas, where he was coached by his father, Sam Harrell. He was the starting quarterback for three seasons and led the Ennis High Fighting Lions to a state Class 4A title as a sophomore. He also played in the 2004 Oil Bowl, receiving the offensive MVP award.[1]

Harrell set Texas high school records in the following categories:[2]

In addition, Harrell ranks second in career pass completions (805 from 2000–2003).

College career[edit source | edit]

Freshman and Redshirt Freshman seasons[edit source | edit]

In 2004, Harrell redshirted his first season at Texas Tech. The following season, he served as the backup quarterback behind another Texas Tech record setter, Cody Hodges, who led the nation in passing in the 2005 College Football Season.

Sophomore season[edit source | edit]

Harrell started in every game of the 2006 season. He threw for 4,555 passing yards, the third-most by a sophomore in NCAA Division I FBS history and the most ever thrown by a sophomore in the history of the Big 12.[7][8] Texas Tech finished the season 7-5 (4-4 in the Big 12) and received an invitation to the 2006 Insight Bowl.[9]

Texas Tech struggled on both offense and defense during first 3 quarters of the Insight Bowl. The Minnesota Golden Gophers outscored Tech 38 to 7 through the end of the 3rd quarter. The Red Raiders, sparked by a 43-yard TD from Harrell to Joel Filani, went on to outscore the Gophers 31-0 through the end of regulation sending the game into overtime. On the final drive, Harrell drove the Red Raider offense almost 70 yards in less than a minute to set up the game tying field goal by Alex Trlica. Following a Minnesota field goal, Tech scored a touchdown to win the game 44-41 capping a 31 point deficit; the largest come-from-behind victory in NCAA FBS bowl history. Harrell threw for 445 yards 2 TDs and 1 rushing TD and was named the Offensive MVP.[10]

Junior season[edit source | edit]

Harrell in August 2007.

Following his decision to return to school rather than enter the 2008 NFL Draft,[11] Harrell continued the success he had the previous season. Harrell won several awards during the 2007 season[12][13] including the Sammy Baugh Trophy recognizing the nation's top college passer.[14] He is the third Texas Tech quarterback to receive the award, following Kliff Kingsbury (2002) and B.J. Symons (2003).

Senior season[edit source | edit]

Entering his senior season, Harrell had 89 career passing touchdowns, putting him within range of Colt Brennan's NCAA record of 131 touchdowns.[15] Before the beginning of his final season, CBS Sports listed Harrell as a Heisman hopeful. Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree's name also appeared on the list.[16] Harrell was also named one of 26 candidates for the 2008 Unitas Award, given to the nation's best senior college football quarterback.[17] Additionally, his name appeared among 30 other quarterbacks in the Davey O'Brien Award watch list.[18] Harrell, along with Coach Mike Leach and teammate Michael Crabtree were featured on the cover of the 2008 edition of Dave Campbell's Texas Football.[19]

To support the Heisman campaign of both Harrell and Crabtree, Texas Tech created a website called, which is modeled after political campaigns. The site garnered national attention and was awarded a Telly Award which honors the best in local, regional, and cable commercials and programs, as well as online videos, films, and commercials.[20][21] After leading the Red Raiders to a victory over the #1 Texas Longhorns, Harrell and teammate Daniel Charbonnet were selected for Big 12 player of the week honors.[22] Harrell also leaped McCoy to make it to the top of the Heisman poll.[23] Harrell was also one of ten finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and one of thirteen finalists for the Davey O'Brien Award.[24][25][26]

Following the inaugural game of the 2008 season, where Texas Tech defeated the Eastern Washington Eagles, 49–24, Harrell was selected as the AT&T ESPN All-America Player.[27] After the Red Raiders 58–28 victory over the Kansas State Wildcats, Harrell received two more honors. He was recognized as the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week and the O'Brien Quarterback of the Week.[28][29] During the game against Kansas State, Harrell broke the all-time record for passing yards at Texas Tech. The previous record, set by Kliff Kingsbury, was 12,429 yards. After the game, Harrell's record stood at 12,709 yards.[29] Following the 63–21 win over #18 Kansas on October 25, 2008, Harrell was again named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week. Teammate Matt Williams was named the Special Teams Player of the Week.[30] After Tech's 65–21 loss to Oklahoma, Harrell's chances of winning the Heisman were reduced.[31] Harrell finished fourth in the Heisman race but did not receive an invitation to attend the presentation ceremony. Michael Crabtree finished fifth.[32]

Playing with 2 broken fingers on his left hand, Harrell leads Tech to victory over Baylor.

In the final regular season game against Baylor, Harrell shattered two of his fingers (the pinkie and middle finger) of his non-throwing hand during the second quarter. At halftime, Harrell's hand was x-rayed, and medical examiners advised Harrell to discontinue playing in the game. Harrell replied, "Tape my hand up. I'm going out." Harrell played the rest of the game with black tape around his fingers. He finished with 309 total passing yards and two touchdowns. With the victory, Tech clinched a share of the Big 12 South title, though fell short at going to the Big 12 Championship Game. The University of Texas was selected to take the Big 12's BCS at large bid, while Tech was relegated to the Cotton Bowl and then to add insult to injury, Harrell was not selected to attened the Heisman Ceremony despite having more touchdown passes than both Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow, having a higher completion percentage than Tebow and Sam Bradford, and having more passing yards than all three candidates. On the day following the Baylor game, Harrell underwent a four-hour surgery, in which 17 pins and two plates were inserted into his injured hand to heal nine different breaks. He was later cleared to play in the postseason bowl game.[33]

On December 2, 2008, Harrell and teammate Michael Crabtree were named as Walter Camp Award finalists.[34]

On December 4, 2008, the American Football Coaches Association compiled its 2008 AFCA Coaches' All-American Team, with Harrell headlining the list.[35]

In December 2008, Harrell, Coach Mike Leach, Leach's wife, and Blayne Beal, the associate Tech media relations director, were in Baltimore for the presentation of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award to Harrell. While there, they received an invitation to Washington, D.C., to meet the president. On December 13, 2008, the group toured the White House and met with President George W. Bush, who disclosed that he watches college football on a regular basis. Bush also told Leach that he frequently talks with his 1978 congressional election rival, Kent Hance, the Texas Tech chancellor.[36]

On October 25, 2008, Graham Harrell passed Philip Rivers to move into sole possession of third place for passing yardage in a career. On November 22, 2008, Harrell passed Ty Detmer to move into second for passing yardage in a career behind Timmy Chang.[37] On January 2, 2009, Harrell played his final collegiate game, a 34-47 loss to Ole Miss in the 2009 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. In the game, Harrell finished his college career with an NCAA all-time record of 134 passing touchdowns, breaking the previous mark of 131 set by Colt Brennan. He also equaled Brennan's record of 147 career touchdowns passing, rushing, and receiving, a record that would be broken the following year by Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour. Harrell also compiled 5,111 passing yards in the season, becoming the first NCAA player to post multiple 5,000-yard passing seasons.[38]

Awards and honors[edit source | edit]

Harrell has received multiple honors, including the 2008 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.

20062006 Insight Bowl MVPSelected[10]
2006Academic All-Big 12Selected for first team[39]
2007AT&T ESPN All-America Player of the WeekSelected twice
2007Sammy Baugh TrophyWinner
2007Academic All-Big 12Selected for first team[40]
20082008 Gator Bowl MVPSelected[41]
2008AT&T ESPN All-America Player of the WeekSelected four times
2008Academic All-Big 12Selected for first teamPosted a 4.00 GPA[42]
2008AFCA Coaches' All-AmericanSelected[35]
2008National Football Foundation National Scholar-AthleteSelected[43]
2008Johnny Unitas Golden Arm AwardWinner[44][45]
2008Heisman TrophyCandidateFinished fourth[46]
2008The Sporting News 2008 National Player of the YearSelectedCo-national player of the year with Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy[47]
2008AT&T All-America Player of the YearWinnerVoted on by fans[48]

Professional career[edit source | edit]

Pre-draft[edit source | edit]

Following his senior season at Texas Tech, Harrell entered the 2009 NFL Draft but went undrafted.[49] He participated with the Cleveland Browns in their rookie camp the first weekend in May 2009 but was not signed.[50] UFL Access reported that Harrell will be working out in front of United Football League representatives in Las Vegas.[51]

Saskatchewan Roughriders[edit source | edit]

On July 20, 2009, Harrell signed a two-year plus an option contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.[52]

Harrell was released by the Roughriders on April 22, 2010.[53]

Green Bay Packers[edit source | edit]

Harrell signed with the Green Bay Packers on May 19, 2010. He was released on September 4, but was re-signed to the practice squad the next day. On December 18, Harrell was signed to the active roster due to an injury to Aaron Rodgers. On September 3, 2011, the Packers released Harrell, however, the Packers re-signed him on September 4, 2011, to the practice squad.[54]

On December 7, 2011, the Packers again signed Harrell to the active roster.

On September 30, 2012, Graham played in his first game for Green Bay. Coming in for one snap in the red zone, Harrell tripped on his center, resulting in a botched hand off and a lost fumble.[55]

Harrell hosted a weekly sports talk show called the "Witt Ford Red Zone with Graham Harrell" every Monday during the 2012 season on 104.1 FM WRLU and archived at [56]

Personal[edit source | edit]

Harrell is the son of Sam and Kathy Harrell. He was born in Brownwood, where his grandfather served as assistant coach to Gordon Wood. Harrell has an older brother, Zac, who was a receiver on Ennis High's 2000 State Championship team, and is a graduate of the University of North Texas and coaches football on the high school level as he serves as Offensive Coordinator at Van High School in Van, Texas. Graham also has a younger brother, Clark Harrell, who played a year at quarterback for the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. Clark transferred to Abilene Christian University after his freshman season at Tulsa and graduated from ACU in 2011.

Sam Harrell, Graham's father, was the highest paid high school coach in Texas as of the 2005-06 academic year.[57] He coached at Reagan County (1990–1993) and Ennis (1994-2009). Sam Harrell retired from coaching duties in December 2010 due to health problems. Sam Harrell returned to the sidelines after over 2 years of aggressive treatment for Multiple Sclerosis and coaches in Brownwood under Bob Shipley, father of Jacksonville Jaguars and former Texas Wideout Jordan Shipley. [58]

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. ^ "Texas Beats Oklahoma in 67th Annual Oil Bowl". Retrieved 2007-05-11. 
  2. ^ "SchoolDay: Oh, brother!". Dallas Morning News. 2005-09-15. Retrieved 2007-05-11. 
  3. ^ Davis, Danny (2007-01-10). "It took a while, but Lake Travis confirms Gilbert's third state record". Austin American-Statesman. Archived from the original on 2008-03-06. Retrieved 2008-02-07. 
  4. ^ "Lake Travis beats Longview, 48-23". 
  5. ^ "Texas High School Football Passing Career Touchdown Leaders". Lone Star Gridiron. 
  6. ^ "A truly Fabulous year for Lake Travis' Gilbert". 
  7. ^ "Big 12 football: Leaders". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-05-11. 
  8. ^ "Harrell secure at helm of high-Tech offense". The Dallas Morning News. 2007-08-10. Retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  9. ^ "Texas Tech Red Raiders 2006 football Schedule". Retrieved 2007-05-11. 
  10. ^ a b "Down 31, Texas Tech rallies for biggest bowl comeback". 2006-12-29. Retrieved 2007-05-11. 
  11. ^ "Texas Tech QB Harrell confirms he’ll return for senior season". Dallas Morning News. 2007-12-20. Retrieved 2007-12-22. 
  12. ^ - September 28, 2007: Tech's Harrell honored
  13. ^ "Harrell Selected for AT&T Honor - Again! :: Junior quarterback receives honor by way of fan vote after performance against Iowa State". 
  14. ^ "Harrell Captures Sammy Baugh Trophy". Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  15. ^ Wolff, Josh (2008-07-05). "Shaking the ‘system’ label". Pro Football Weekly. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  16. ^ "Heisman Hopefuls". CBS Sports. Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  17. ^ "MU's Chase Daniel on Unitas Award watch list". 
  18. ^ "2008 O’Brien Quarterback Award Watch List Released" (Press release). 
  19. ^ "Campbell picks Cove to win District 12-5A". Killeen Daily Herald. 2008-06-17. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  20. ^ Williams, Don (2008-10-08). "Tech site gets national attention". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved 2008-10-10. 
  21. ^ Post, Sally Logue (2009-05-14). "Texas Tech Athletics Media Relations Office Heisman Campaign Wins National Award". Texas Tech University News. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  22. ^ "Big 12 notebook: Still more big games left". Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  23. ^ "Harrell overtakes McCoy in Heisman poll". Austin American-Statesman. 2008-11-03. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  24. ^ "Harrell Among Unitas Finalists: Texas Tech senior quarterback one of 10 vying for prestigious award". Texas Tech Athletics. 2008-10-14. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  25. ^ "Harrell Among Unitas Finalists: Texas Tech senior quarterback one of 10 vying for prestigious award". KSCW. 2008-10-27. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  26. ^ "Just another TT QB? No, Harrell is a shock to the system". 
  27. ^ "Texas Tech: Harrell Named AT&T All-America Player of the Week". NCAA. 2008-09-04. Retrieved 2008-09-05. [dead link]
  28. ^ Price, Dwain (2008-10-07). "Texas Tech: Graham Harrell named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week". Retrieved 2008-10-07. [dead link]
  29. ^ a b "Harrell named O'Brien Quarterback of the Week". NCAA. 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2008-10-07. [dead link]
  30. ^ "Harrell, Lewis and Williams Named Big 12 football Players of the Week". Big 12 Conference. 2008-10-27. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  31. ^ "Dreams of Harrell, Texas Tech come crashing down". 
  32. ^ Thamel, Pete (2008-12-13). "A Few Heisman Nuggets". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  33. ^ "Harrell has pins, plates put in left hand; should be fine for bowl". 
  34. ^ "Florida's Tebow, Charlie Strong finalists for national awards". St. Petersburg Times. 2008-12-02. Retrieved 2008-12-02. [dead link]
  35. ^ a b "Texas Tech's Harrell Headlines 2008 AFCA Coaches' All-American Team". American Football Coaches Association. 2008-12-04. Retrieved 2008-12-04. 
  36. ^ Don Williams, "Harrell, Leach tour White House", Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, December 14, 2008:
  37. ^ "'Oklahoma's message soundly delivered with destruction of Texas Tech". 
  38. ^ "Bold Miss: Texas Tech no match for Rebels, 47-34". 
  39. ^ "2006 Academic All-Big 12 football Team Announced" (Press release). Big 12 Conference. 2006-11-21. Retrieved 2008-11-26. 
  40. ^ "2007 Academic All-Big 12 football Team Announced" (Press release). Big 12 Conference. 2007-11-20. Retrieved 2008-11-26. 
  41. ^ "Texas Tech Red Raiders, NCAA Football, Virginia Cavaliers". Retrieved 2010-12-28. 
  42. ^ "2008 Academic All-Big 12 football Team Announced" (Press release). Big 12 Conference. 2008-11-25. Retrieved 2008-11-26. 
  43. ^ "NFF Scholar-Athlete Bio". National Football Foundation. Retrieved 2011-11-30. 
  44. ^ "Graham Harrell Wins Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award". Official Texas Tech Athletic Site. 2008-12-08. Retrieved 2008-12-09. 
  45. ^ "Harrell 2008 Johny Unitas Golden Arm Award" (PDF). 
  46. ^ "Sooners' Bradford Wins Heisman Trophy". 
  47. ^ "Texas Tech QB Harrell named co-national player of the year". The Dallas Morning News. 2008-12-17. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  48. ^ "Harrell Selected AT&T All-America Player of the Year". Texas Tech Official Athletic Site. 2009-01-09. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  49. ^ Williams, Don (2009-04-26). "Chargers land Vasquez, Cowboys take Williams". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  50. ^ Cabot, Mary Kay (2009-05-04). "Browns Insider: No deal for QB Harrell, but coaching staff was positive, says agent". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  51. ^ "Rex Grossman, Graham Harrell to the UFL". 
  52. ^ "Riders sign Quarterback Graham Harrell". Saskatchewan Roughriders Football Club. 2009-07-20. Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
  53. ^ "Riders release QB Harrell, WR Morris". April 22, 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2010. 
  54. ^
  55. ^
  56. ^
  57. ^ "In dollars, coaches beat teachers". Austin American-Statesman. August 27, 2006. p. A1. Retrieved 2009-02-25. 
  58. ^ George, Brandon. "Ennis ISD official release on football coach Sam Harrell retiring from coaching". Dallas Morning News High School Sports Blog. Retrieved 27 December 2010. 

External links[edit source | edit]