Eight sacks in forty-seven career games.
Those are the words that aptly describe Derrick Harvey’s disappointing NFL career.
Harvey, a highly-touted 6’5″, 268-lb. defensive end who won Defensive MVP National Championship Game honors with the Florida Gators in 2007, just couldn’t get over the hump in the pro ranks.
The Jacksonville Jaguars took a chance on him with the eighth overall selection of the 2008 NFL Draft.
No matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t get the best out of Harvey.
They even asked him to take on linebacker duties in a 3-4 defensive scheme, to no avail.
Regrettably, Derrick Harvey will go down in history as one of the biggest busts in Jacksonville Jaguars history.
Derrick Harvey was born in Greenbelt, MD on November 9, 1986.
He attended Eleanor Roosevelt High School.
Harvey was a late bloomer on the gridiron: he started playing high school football for the Roosevelt Raiders during his junior year.
It didn’t take him long to make a massive impact.
Harvey, a 6’5″, 268-lb. defensive lineman with an incredible 82-inch wingspan, wreaked havoc on the football field as a senior.
He had 150 tackles, five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and five passes batted down that year.
Harvey also set a Maryland state record 31 sacks during his senior year.
Consequently, Harvey received First Team All-State honors from The Associated Press.
Behind Harvey’s exploits on the defensive line, the Raiders won twelve of thirteen games in 2003.
The Raiders also reached the 4A state semifinal round.
Derrick Harvey also played tight end for the Roosevelt Raiders.
Harvey piled up some impressive accolades once he wrapped up his high school football career.
SuperPrep, Riddell, EA Sports, and Tom Lemming named Harvey an All-America selection.
On the other hand, USA TODAY named him to its Second Team All-America defensive selection.
Harvey also received Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year honors.
TheInsiders.com also held Harvey in high regard.
The website rated him the No. 3 defensive end in the nation and the No. 1 defensive end in the Atlantic Region.
Harvey was also a member of the TheInsiders.com First Team All-Atlantic Region selection.
SuperPrep’s All-America issue rated Harvey the No. 1 prospect in the country.
Derrick Harvey was a Raiders basketball letterman for two years.
The Tennessee Volunteers, Maryland Terrapins, and Ohio State Buckeyes recruited Harvey during his senior year.
The Miami Hurricanes also had Harvey on their radar.
Unfortunately, the Hurricanes’ lineup was already teeming with defensive linemen.
That didn’t sit well with Harvey, who wanted to make a solid impact from the get-go.
Harvey crossed Miami out of his shortlist.
Raiders head football coach Rick Houchens explained Harvey’s sentiments to Rivals.com’s Mike Farrell:
“Derrick is a smart kid and is carefully looking at depth charts and things like that to see how he would fit in.”
“That’s why he dropped Miami, because they told him he wouldn’t be able to compete for a spot for a couple of years because they have so many young linemen.”
“He appreciated the honesty and thanked them, but he’s really interested in competing now.”
Houchens, who convinced Harvey to make the switch from basketball to football, stressed the big man wanted to join a school that needed pass rushers.
The Raiders defensive end also preferred a team that employed a 3-4 defense – the kind of defense that features three defensive linemen and four linebackers – because he could bulk up to 270 lbs. and excel in that kind of setup, per Rivals.com.
Choosing a school to play for is not an easy process.
In fact, it can be agonizing for many players. Harvey was no exception.
He announced his decision before a nationwide television audience on ESPN on February 3, 2004.
“I’m excited about it,” Harvey told Farrell. All the schools I visited and the coaches I met, I liked them all. This has not been an easy decision at all.”
Derrick Harvey chose the Florida Gators.
In the next few years, Harvey would not only re-write Florida’s record books, but he would also help bring the program to national prominence once again.
College Days With The Florida Gators
Derrick Harvey majored in anthropology at the University of Florida.
Gators head football coach Ron Zook recruited the highly-touted defensive end from Maryland.
Harvey spearheaded a solid 2004 recruiting class that included middle linebacker Brandon Siler, left tackle Phil Trautwein, guard/center Drew Miller, left guard Jim Tartt, tackle Jason Watkins, defensive end Jeremy Mincey, tight end Cornelius Ingram, and safety Troy Joiner.
ESPN college football writer Jeff Barlis considered the Class of 2004 one of the best recruiting classes in Florida Gators football history.
Harvey, Mincey, and Siler went on to play in the National Football League.
Derrick Harvey redshirted his freshman season in 2004.
The Gators won seven of twelve games that year.
Unfortunately, 20th-ranked Florida lost to the 14th-ranked Miami Hurricanes in the 2004 Peach Bowl, 27-10.
As a redshirt freshman, Harvey played in nine games during the 2005 NCAA season.
Harvey’s best game of the year was the 49-28 road win against the Kentucky Wildcats on September 24, 2005.
He recorded three of his six tackles for the year on that day.
Harvey also finished his redshirt freshman campaign with one sack and one pass defensed.
The Gators went 9-3 in 2005.
Sixteenth-ranked Florida beat the 25th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes in the 2006 Outback Bowl, 31-24.
Derrick Harvey registered one tackle in the victory.
Harvey would serve notice he’s one of the nation’s best defensive linemen during his redshirt sophomore campaign during the 2006 NCAA season.
He recorded four tackles, two sacks, and his first career fumble recovery in the Gators’ 27-17 loss to the 11th-ranked Auburn Tigers on October 14, 2006.
Two weeks later, Harvey had three tackles, one sack, one fumble recovery, and his first career forced fumble as Florida beat its SEC nemesis, the Georgia Bulldogs, 21-14.
Harvey recorded a career-high five tackles and a sack in the Gators’ 25-19 victory over the Vanderbilt Commodores the following week.
He had three tackles in Florida’s 38-28 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks in the SEC Championship Game on December 2, 2006.
With Harvey terrorizing whatever offense came his way, Florida won thirteen of fourteen games during the 2006 NCAA season.
It was the first time the Gators won thirteen games in their ninety-four-year history.
Harvey finished his redshirt sophomore season with 35 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 11.0 sacks, one fumble recovery, and one forced fumble in fourteen games.
These performances were just a prelude to the greatest game of Derrick Harvey’s college football career: the 2007 BCS National Championship Game.
Standing in the Gators’ way were the No. 1-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.
Late in the first half, Florida junior defensive end Jarvis Moss sacked Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith.
Smith fumbled the football. Harvey scooped up the loose ball and returned it to the Buckeyes’ five-yard line.
On third down, Gators freshman quarterback Tim Tebow threw a one-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Andre Caldwell for a commanding 34-14 Florida lead at halftime.
The Gators hung on to win their second national title, 41-14.
Florida’s victory had wider historical implications.
The Gators became the first Division I program to hold the men’s basketball and football titles simultaneously.
For his part, Urban Meyer became just the second football coach in NCAA history to lead his team to the national title in just his first or second year on the job, per the Gators’ official athletics website.
Harvey, who was a member of the Second Team All-SEC, also made a bit of history himself.
He earned 2007 BCS National Championship Game Defensive MVP honors.
Harvey’s stat line: four tackles, three sacks, and one fumble recovery.
Harvey was responsible for three of the Gators’ five sacks on 2006 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Troy Smith.
Florida’s relentless pass rush frustrated Smith all game long. The Buckeyes quarterback finished the game with minus 29 rushing yardage on ten carries.
Harvey entered his redshirt junior campaign in 2007 as one of the most feared edge rushers in the nation.
In October of that year, Harvey admitted to the University of Florida Sports Information Department’s Meghan Gannon, he felt more at home in Gainesville after considering leaving during his first year on campus.
However, he soon formed a tight friendship with Gators tight end Cornelius Ingram and eventually felt more at home in The Sunshine State.
At this stage in Harvey’s football career, Meyer lauded his work ethic and leadership, per Gannon:
“My expectations are as high as his and so is our defensive coaches. Derrick is above and beyond where we thought he’d be as a leader and a football player. He goes as hard as he can and he’s got a tremendous future.”
Harvey gained more national recognition during his redshirt junior campaign.
He was named to the Lott Trophy, Hendricks Award, and Maxwell Award Watch Lists.
Even though Harvey commanded more double teams in 2007, he still finished the year with 31 solo tackles, 49 total tackles, 17.0 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, five passes defensed, and one forced fumble in thirteen games.
Harvey also earned Second Team All-SEC honors for the second consecutive year.
The Gators won nine of thirteen games in 2007.
Unfortunately, ninth-ranked Florida lost to the Michigan Wolverines in the 2008 Capital One Bowl, 41-35.
Derrick Harvey, who had eight total tackles against Michigan, played in his final college football game.
Harvey decided to forego his redshirt senior season at Florida and declare for the 2008 NFL Draft.
Other big-name juniors who declared for the draft include Miami Hurricanes defensive end Calais Campbell, Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Vernon Gholston, Illinois Fighting Illini running back Rashard Mendenhall, and Kansas Jayhawks cornerback Aqib Talib.
Harvey concluded his three-year stint with the Gators with 60 solo tackles, 90 total tackles, 31.5 tackles for loss, 20.5 sacks, six passes defensed, one fumble recovery, and two forced fumbles.
His career sack total ranked him ninth all-time in Florida Gators football program history.
Harvey’s career 51.5 tackles for loss is the third-most among the Gators’ all-time defensive players.
Regrettably, Derrick Harvey never lived up to the massive hype during his professional football career.
Pro Football Career
The Jacksonville Jaguars won an impressive eleven games during the 2007 NFL season.
That equaled the third-most wins in a single season in franchise history.
Jacksonville’s 10th-ranked defense allowed just 5,021 all-purpose yards in 2007.
However, the departures of Marcus Stroud, Bobby McCray, and Grady Jackson left some glaring holes in the Jags’ defensive line for the upcoming 2008 NFL season.
With that in mind, Jacksonville set its sights on snagging can’t-miss defensive end prospect Derrick Harvey from the draft pool.
Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio desperately wanted Harvey. He traded four picks to the Baltimore Ravens so his team could move up to the eighth spot.
In an ironic twist of fate, the Ravens used the draft picks to select Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens quarterback Joe Flacco eighteenth overall.
It was a move that made the Jaguars look foolish for taking a chance on Harvey more than a decade later.
Nevertheless, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made it official on the podium: the Jacksonville Jaguars made Derrick Harvey the eighth overall selection of the 2008 NFL Draft.
Harvey, who became the first defensive end the Jaguars drafted in the first round, welcomed the opportunity.
“Whatever my role will be, special teams, defensive end, it doesn’t matter,” Harvey told NFL.com. “I’m just trying to help the Jacksonville Jaguars win more games than they did last year.”
Harvey held out of his Jaguars contract for thirty-three days, setting a rookie franchise record.
Consequently, he missed the entirety of training camp and three preseason games.
Harvey’s holdout incensed Del Rio, who felt the turn of events was “a little frustrating,” per ESPN.
Harvey finally agreed to a deal reportedly worth up to $30 million on August 27, 2008.
— #OnThisDay (@Iain_McDougall) August 27, 2017
He had a so-so rookie campaign with the Jaguars.
Harvey registered 19 total tackles, 15 solo tackles, 3.5 sacks, and one interception in sixteen games during the 2008 NFL season.
His best game of the year was a seven-tackle and two-sack performance against the Baltimore Ravens on December 28, 2008.
Regrettably, Flacco’s squad routed Harvey’s team, 27-7.
Jacksonville regressed considerably, winning just five games in Harvey’s rookie year.
Harvey put up decent stats in his second year on the NFL gridiron.
He recorded 57 total tackles, 44 solo tackles, two sacks, and one fumble recovery in 2009.
However, he never had the breakout year many Jaguars fans expected.
Some pundits credit that to the various changes Jacksonville made on defense as the season wore on.
Harvey even saw time at outside linebacker when the Jags were on a 3-4 alignment.
When the opposition executed a pass play, Harvey lined up at defensive tackle in a 4-3 defensive scheme.
The changes apparently took a toll on Derrick Harvey’s NFL career. It was hard for a second-year player to keep up with that many.
Jacksonville won just seven games in 2009 and missed the postseason for the eighth time in the past ten years.
Harvey registered the worst statistical year of his Jacksonville Jaguars tenure in 2010.
He finished the year with 12 total tackles, 11 solo tackles, and 2.5 sacks in fifteen games.
The Jaguars were just a tad better than the previous year. They had a mediocre 8-8 win-loss record in the 2010 NFL season.
— OnlyGators.com: Florida Gators news (@onlygators) January 31, 2010
Harvey’s lowest point of the season came on October 27, 2010.
On that day, Del Rio benched Harvey for misreading a run play that allowed Kansas City Chiefs running back Thomas Jones to rack up 70 yards.
Harvey’s gaffe allowed Kansas City to score its first touchdown of the game.
Rookie defensive lineman Austen Lane eventually replaced Harvey in the starting lineup.
The Jaguars ultimately released Derrick Harvey on July 30, 2011.
The Denver Broncos signed Harvey to a contract two days later.
The move allowed Harvey to reunite with his Florida Gators teammate and Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.
The change of scenery and reunion with Tebow could’ve given Harvey enough reasons to turn his pro football career around.
Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way.
Harvey could only muster four total tackles and two solo tackles in five games in the Mile High City.
Worse, he failed to record a single sack as a member of the Broncos.
To nobody’s surprise, the Broncos – who lost to the New England Patriots in the Divisional Round – didn’t renew Harvey’s contract.
The Cincinnati Bengals signed him on March 23, 2012.
Regrettably, the Bengals released Harvey four-and-a-half months later.
— OnlyGators.com: Florida Gators news (@onlygators) August 5, 2012
Harvey never found another suitor in the National Football League again.
He finished his four-year NFL career with 92 total tackles, 72 solo tackles, eight sacks, two fumble recoveries, one interception, and five passes defensed in 52 games with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Denver Broncos.
Sadly, twenty-five-year-old Derrick Harvey rode off into the sunset never realizing his full potential on the NFL gridiron.
Not much has been known about Derrick Harvey since he played in his last NFL down during the 2011 season.
As of this writing, he doesn’t have any active social media accounts.