What are your measurements (height, weight and forty
At the Combine, I was 5’9 1/8, weight was 211 and I
ran 4.5. At the pro day that we had, I ran a 4.45.
When you were coming out of high school, what
programs showed interest in you?
I had a lot of Big 12 schools that were looking at
me. I had Oklahoma State, Kansas State and a lot of
mid-major programs like Boise State, Houston, Tulane
and UTEP. But I broke my ankle going into my senior
year of high school. It was actually in the spring
of my junior year. A lot of the schools kind of
backed off. Only the mid-major programs stuck with
Why did you choose Boise State?
I wanted the opportunity to play as a true
freshman. I had a good career in high school. I
felt like I was ready to start early and have a good
career in college. Boise State was one of those
teams that showed me that there was a possibility of
that happening. I wanted to see if that would come
true. I ended up getting that done.
Describe your career at Boise State.
It was a long ride. I played as a true freshman. I
had a pretty good first year. 2008 and 2009 years
were kind of rough because we had a loaded
backfield. We had Ian Johnson, Jeremy Avery and
Doug Martin. In 2009, it was Jeremy and I going
back and forth. Then I got hurt back-to-back
seasons. It was devastating. I bounced back in
2011 and 2012. It was a good six years at Boise
How tough was it dealing with all of those injuries?
It was probably the toughest year in 2009. I had an
ACL injury. I didn’t know how I was going to
respond to it. It was the toughest year mentally.
Physically, I actually bounced back fine. In 2010,
I did it again. But I knew that I could come back
from it then. It actually gave me more time for
school because I was on a four-year plan
originally. Everything actually worked out.
Are you happy with the way your career ended up at
Absolutely, I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Everything happens for a reason. I have matured a
lot, and my body has changed. I have gone through
injuries, and you think differently as a result of
it. You grow up a little bit. Now I feel that I am
ready to take the next step.
You had a breakout season as a senior, was that a
blessing in the sky?
Absolutely. I started school really early. I was
kind of behind my years in school. I was one of the
younger guys. On the football field, I have been
able to understand the game mentally. I was able to
watch the game those two years that I sat out. I
watched more film. I was able to break down the
game. It made the game a lot easier for me. It
helped me have a great season.
Where are you training for the NFL Draft?
Right now, I am back in my home state of Houston,
Texas. I was out in Westlake, CA training for the
pro day and the combine. I just got back home
yesterday. I am already training at Velocity
Sports. It is right down the road.
Were you satisfied with your results at the Pro Day?
I had a solid performance at the Combine. I knew
that I wanted to improve some of those times and
show that it wasn’t necessarily my best
performance. I did the forty again. I improved. I
was in the 4.45 range. I didn’t do too well in the
agility drills at the Combine. I improved those
times. I was in the 4.0 range at the Pro Day. My
60 yard shuttle was in the 11.6-11.8 range. It was
a great time to post. My positional drills went
really well. It was big for me to post better
numbers than at the Combine.
How grueling of a process is the Scouting Combine?
I have dealt with adversity before having gone
through the knee injuries. But the Combine was
definitely one of the toughest things that I have
done in my entire life. You put in a lot of hours
talking to the coaches, physical testing and mental
tests. I had an average of five to six hours of
sleep per night. I didn’t get any more than that.
You have a lot of stress that you are dealing with.
It was tough.
Did you get to bond with any of the players from the
Our whole running back group was together through
the entire time. We were going through station to
station and drill to drill. I actually shared a
room with Landry Jones (QB from Oklahoma). We
played them in 2007 before I got there. We talked
about the big bowl game when Oklahoma played Boise
State. It was definitely a great experience meeting
other great players.
What was the toughest question that you were asked
in Indy by a scout or a coach?
Probably when they asked me about why they should
draft me. They asked what separates me from the
rest of my competition. You want to say so many
things about your strengths. But you just want to
find that middle ground when answering questions
What are your strengths?
Vision and just being a great all-around back. I
can do everything well. I have good speed. I have
great hands out of the backfield. I had to learn
how to pass protect while being at Boise State. We
ran the spread offense as well as from center. I
have done a little bit of everything being in
multiple offenses. I have seen it all.
What areas of your game do you need to improve upon?
I think that it is just decision making. I was
somewhat indecisive on the field at times in
college. I need to be more decisive. Some of the
scouts have said the same thing to me.
What is the highlight of your career?
Our first game of my senior season was against
Michigan State. It was a rough game for me. The
game definitely didn’t go the way that I wanted it
to go. It was my first game being the featured
back. We were able to bounce back as a team and as
an offense the very next week. I went for like 180
yards and four touchdowns. I had three on the
ground and one receiving. It was great to bounce
back. The second highlight was our senior game. It
was the very first play of the game. I went 80
yards. It was a big moment as well with all of my
What has made Boise State so successful in recent
Coach Petersen has done a tremendous job hiring a
great staff. Also the program has recruited the
right type of players. If you go down the list,
it’s not like we have had 5-star recruits. He just
recruits guys that have a chip on their shoulder.
Guys that want to go out there and prove
themselves. When you get a group of guys that are
extremely hard working and want to prove themselves,
it adds up to success.
You were born and raised in Texas, what was it like
going to a place like Boise, Idaho?
It was different. Houston is a very big city.
There are a lot of things going on. I was going to
Boise State for a specific goal and that was to get
my education. I got my degree. It was nice being
in a college town. It was easier to focus on what I
wanted to do. It was great. You have four
different seasons. I didn’t see any snow in Texas.
It was really emotional leaving here after the Pro
Day. I had six amazing years. I don’t know how
often I will visit here.
How awesome was it to play on the blue football
field at the home stadium?
It was weird when I took my recruiting trip there.
It was snowing then, so I didn’t get to see it. But
when I came back in the summertime, it was like one
of those sites. I have seen this on TV many times,
but I got to see it in person that it is really
blue. You have to actually see it, to believe it.
It was crazy the first couple of days. But then
after we started the summer conditioning drills, the
only thing that was on my mind was getting through
the next rep. I was dying when I first got there.
It was different seeing opponents coming to our
field and just walking around. They were just
looking at the ground. It is cool to see.
Who is the toughest player that you have faced
during your career?
I would actually have to go with that whole Michigan
State’s defense. The defensive ends and the
linebackers were great. Their whole defense was
loaded. It seemed like we couldn’t do anything on
offense that game. I watched film of that game.
They had some amazing players.
What is your favorite NFL team?
I have always been a Ravens fan. I love the passion
that Ray Lewis and Ed Reed have. Both of those guys
have moved on, but they signify how football should
be played. I always loved that whole team.
How tough was it to see Ray Lewis retire and Ed Reed
sign with the Texans?
It was weird. Ray Lewis has played for such a long
time. He could still probably play right now. I
know that he could. Eventually, there is a time
when everybody has to hang up their cleats. It was
good to see that he was able to do it on his own
terms instead of being forced out. He knew that he
was ready to move on. Ed Reed is still getting a
great opportunity. He will obviously play with the
Texans. But he still has an opportunity to play the
game. He is not done yet.
What will you miss the most about college football?
Probably just the bond that you have with those guys
on the team. I was there for six years. You meet a
lot of fun people. I was back from my Pro Day and I
saw a lot of those guys having their spring ball
practice. It is really just a process and a bond
with those guys.
Do you feel slighted for not being selected to the
A little bit, but everything happens for a reason.
I was fortunate enough to go to another All-Star
game. I played in the Texas versus The Nation
Game. There was great talent at that game. There
are players that come out of that game all the time
and go to the NFL. It was very competitive there.
All of the scouts that were at the Senior Bowl also
attended our game. I was still fortunate to go the
Combine. I still got the same amount of exposure.
It wasn’t really too big of a deal.
underclassman on your team should we keep an eye on
in the future?
We have a lot of great talent there. Let’s keep it
in the running back family. I think that Jay Ajayi
had a great season this past year along with me. I
think that he will do some big things. He is super
excited about next season after talking to him. I
would say that guy.
When did Boise State become such a running back
We have had some great backs even before my time.
But I feel that Ian Johnson was kind of like a
gateway for the rest of the guys. After Ian, Doug
Martin and I came through. We had Jeremy Avery. We
have Jay Ajayi now. More talented backs have been
added to the roster since I have left. They have
some talent there.
Did you expect that your former teammate Doug Martin
would have such a successful rookie campaign with
Absolutely. I was with that guy for a long time. I
know his work ethic and his drive. This is what he
always wanted to do. I knew that he would put it
together. I just didn’t know that it would happen
so fast. But it is not a surprise to me that he had
that much success.
What is your definition of a leader?
There are guys that lead by example and there are
guys that are really vocal. Ray Lewis comes to
mind. He is very vocal. I think that it is someone
who you want to model yourself after. It is a guy
that does the right things on and off the field.
Which NFL player would you compare your game to?
I have actually been told Shane Vereen with the
Patriots. He is a little bit of everything. He can
run inside, outside, can catch the ball and block
well. I am a little bit like Shane Vereen.
What do you plan to do with your life after your
football career is over?
I have been thinking about that a lot. I started
with engineering and then I moved to business. Then
I got my degree in communications and I am almost
done with my minor in business. I need like 16
credits. So I can always go back and get that. I
would want to go and become a sports analyst or
doing something with the news. I think that I would
stay in the sports field.
What are your hobbies?
I just like to lay back. I am super chill. I play
Xbox. I am a big music fan. I hang out with close
friends. I spend a lot of quality time with
family. I don’t see my family quite as much because
I have been so busy. It is nice to be back at
home. I like to hang out with my brother and a
younger sister. I like to lay low. I don’t like to
party or go out.
Do you have a chip on your shoulder as you head to
Absolutely. It is the same thing when I was coming
out of high school. I had a chip on my shoulder
back then. A lot of people thought that I won’t
bounce back from my ankle surgery. They didn’t
think that I was fast or big enough. I have gained
quite a bit of respect. But I do have to prove to
everyone that these knee injuries haven’t slowed me
down. I have to prove that I haven’t lost a step.
I feel like I am one of the better backs in this
class. I do have a chip on my shoulder.
What makes you a unique individual?
I feel like I don’t fit into a stereotype of a
football player. I am not a big man on campus. I
enjoy signing autographs for little kids. I enjoy
taking pictures with people. I like to give back to
the community. I enjoy going out and not being well
Finish the sentence, D.J. Harper is….
A humble and blessed individual that is definitely
looking for the opportunity of playing at the next
level. I know that the best is yet to