North Chicago Community High School's Cory Harper Jr. ready to step up for last season
North Chicago Warhawks’ Cory Harper Jr. plans to leave everything on the field this season.
In addition to being one of the team’s most versatile performers from his wide receiver and defensive back positions, the 5-foot-9, 160-pound senior appears ready to embrace the role of coach-on-the-field for North Chicago.
“The guys last year, they taught me a lot, Harper told the Chicago Tribune. “I’ll take that and try to give it to the younger kids. Instead of me just playing for myself, I’d rather play for the team and the guys I have around me.”
Warhawks coach Addonte Adams seems confident Harper is ready to provide everything his team needs.
“Cory is a kid who was hid behind some seniors last year,” Adams told the Tribune. “This is his time to step up. He’s a senior and I expect big things from him from the receiver position. He can play inside and outside. And he’ll give us some help at safety and corner. He’s a versatile player.”
Harper spent much of the offseason fine-tuning his game and all the hard work has been obvious to those around him.
“He shocked me with some of the catches he made,” Adams said. “He went up and got some balls that somebody his size you wouldn’t expect them to go get. Maybe that’s from him playing volleyball and having to jump up and spike the ball down. He has shown me some things that I like to see.”
It’s all part of Harper’s plan to take the Warhawks where they haven’t been since the 2012 season. North Chicago finished 5-4 last season, narrowly missing the postseason for the sixth straight time.
“That became a big motivation,” Harper said. “That made me work harder this summer. We missed by a couple of points. Last year, we played with teams that people thought would blow us out. If we put the work in and stay to it, we can actually beat the powerhouse teams in our conference.”
As for his own approach, Harper has a simple mindset for how he manages to have such a huge impact.
“With me being a smaller person on the field, I have to think big,” he said. “I have to think like a bigger receiver, bigger slot, bigger corner. I have to play with my heart. I just play to the whistle, and give it all I got.”