ATHENS -- There’s no way to avoid the obvious question. So Quintavius Harrow was just asked: Is he aware of the perception that he’s only on the Georgia football team because his best friend is Isaiah Crowell?
“Oh yeah, that motivates me a lot,” Harrow answered.
And does the way he is playing feel like validation?
“They should by me playing (know) I’m not just here for Isaiah,” Harrow said.
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Meet Quintavius Harrow -- an unknown enough in recruiting that his first name was consistently misspelled. And what he was known for was being close with Crowell, Georgia’s top recruiting target last year.
So when the Bulldogs offered a scholarship to Harrow, an undersized linebacker at Carver-Columbus, it was seen as an obvious effort by Georgia to help reel in Crowell. Once both were on campus, Harrow would surely be shuffled to the side and perhaps never see the field.
Then a funny thing happened in August, when the Bulldogs were figuring out who would play on special teams. Harrow kept making tackles that stood out to assistant coach Kirk Olividatti, who is in charge of Georgia’s kickoff coverage team.
Olividatti, who was hired after the recruiting process, asked if he could use Harrow. And any reservations were removed in the opener against Boise State.
“He got hit from like four different angles, got up off the ground and made the tackle,” Olividiatti said. “I was like, ‘All right, there you go.’”
Harrow only has played on special teams, but he has amassed 10 tackles, five of them solo. And as the season has gone on, he has made a name for himself with some hard hits -- including one against Auburn that got quite the crowd reaction.
“A lot of it is he understands the main purpose of a cover man is to end up at the brown thing, end up at the football,” Olividatti said. “He understands that, and he doesn’t care how many butts he kicks along the way. He just wants to end up where the football’s at. That seems really simple, but sometimes guys get too caught up in, ‘Oh, this return is coming, and this is happening.’ You just want to run as fast as you can, get down to the ball as fast as you can.”
Harrow said he made some big hits at Carver “just about every game.” But the only other scholarship offer he could recall receiving was from Southern Miss, a Conference USA program.
Even if he were only going to Georgia to be Crowell’s wing man, there was no sense in apologizing for it.
“I knew special teams was gonna be a good way for me to get on the field,” Harrow said. “Because I was kind of the sleeper of the class. I knew if I just went out there and worked hard, things would happen.”
Those things have happened enough to pay dividends for the future. Head coach Mark Richt said Harrow’s play on special teams has opened the chance for him to compete for time on defense next year.
Richt compared it to NFL rookies, perhaps less-heralded, who earn their way onto a roster via their special teams play and then do well enough there to get practice snaps on defense.
“I’m really proud of him because he really has made a name for himself,” Richt said. “When we looked at him, we felt like at the very least he would be a great special teams player. He is what you’ve seen. He runs very fast, and he’s fearless; he’s tough. He’s a football player, and that’s the greatest compliment you can give a guy.”
Perhaps Harrow has made a name for himself, but he hasn’t quite been separated from Crowell, whom Harrow said he has been close to since kindergarten.
Harrow shook his head when asked if he was sick of being asked about Crowell.
“I’m used to it,” he said. “Because that’s what people do.”