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Virgen's View: Mr. Irrelevant will be 'Harnishing'

April 28, 2012|By Steve Virgen

Look at these numbers: he threw for 8,944 career yards on 687-of-1,110 passing for a 61.9 completion percentage with 26 interceptions and 68 touchdown passes. He rushed for 2,983 yards on 538 carries with 24 touchdowns and averaged 5.5 yards per carry. He compiled 11,927 yards of total offense to rank third all-time in the Mid-American Conference behind Marshall's Byron Leftwich and LeFevour.

Last season, he led the Huskies to three come-from-behind wins in which they trailed by at least 13 points.

"We were able to do some nice things there," Harnish said in a humble tone.

For all his confidence, Harnish became unsure of being picked, as the NFL Draft was nearing its end on Saturday. He was at his cousin's house in Boston, Indiana when the call came from the Colts just before the final pick.

"I was shocked," Harnish said. "I was unbelievably surprised, yet elated. Indianapolis has been my hometown team. My grandparents have had season tickets. To get the call from them is just unbelievable."

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Harnish excelled at Norwell High in Ossian, Indiana, before going to Northern Illinois. He played quarterback and safety in high school.

"I'm a country boy," Harnish said.

Harnish said he had heard of Mr. Irrelevant before, but he was not aware of Irrelevant Week in Newport Beach, where the NFL Draft's final pick is roasted and toasted at parties and special events.

Harnish is expected to arrive in Orange County on June 24, according to the Irrelevant Week website, www.irrelevantweek.com.

The Kick-off Arrival Party is June 25, followed by the signature event on June 26: All-Star Lowsman Banquet at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa. At the banquet, Harnish will be presented with the Lowsman Trophy. It's like the Heisman, only the figurine is fumbling the ball with a troubled look on his face.

Mr. Irrelevant will also be a featured guest at Disneyland June 27 and Balboa Yacht Club June 28. Melanie Salata-Fitch, Paul's daughter and CEO of Irrelevant Week, says Harnish loves golf and she might plan a golf tournament.

Some of the parties in the Irrelevant Week's history have been epic. David Vobora went to the Playboy Mansion in 2008. They might be more toned down this year.

A lady from New York posted a video on YouTube offering a special night for Mr. Irrelevant. She'll have no chance with Harnish.

Sorry ladies. He said he might bring his girlfriend during Irrelevant Week and they have a serious relationship.

He said he's ready for the roasting and the week of fun.

"It feels great to be Mr. Irrelevant," Harnish said. "I think it's a great award. It may carry a name some people might not like. I just feel great to be drafted. It was a dream come true."

steve.virgen@latimes.com

Twitter: @SteveVirgen

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