Harlan on recruiting: Penn Hills junior wideout shows Major talent
Julian Major's coach describes his talent as raw, but that natural ability is undeniable when the junior wideout runs routes.
"It doesn't take a lot of plays to see that jump out at you," said Penn Hills assistant Harvey Smith, who coached the team's pass attack last season. "He definitely has that 'it' factor. As soon as you watch film or you watch him (in person), you just see that rawness come out. He can make plays like most people can't. He's one of the most-raw athletes in the area."
The 6-foot-2, 175-pound receiver already lists FBS offers from 11 schools and four of the Power 5 conferences. That total should increase soon as Major visits more schools for campus tours and camp workouts.
"I'm taking as many visits as I can before I get ready to commit this summer," he said.
His travels started last weekend when Smith took Major and a few Penn Hills teammates to visit Lexington, Ky., for Kentucky's spring game. Major also will visit East Lansing, Mich., this month, where a Michigan State offer awaits. The Spartans would be his second Big 10 offer after Wisconsin.
"They've already said it's a done deal," Smith said. "He just needs to show up."
Major already holds two SEC offers, which are rather rare in the WPIAL and "something you dream about," he said. Kentucky joined his list last July and Arkansas followed in September.
Wisconsin, Iowa State and Boston College are his other P5 options. His most recent offer came from Buffalo.
Major wants to commit in July.
Oddly, he's fared better nationally than closer to home. Neither Pitt, Penn State nor West Virginia has offered.
"There's another level to my game that they can see that I can't," Major said. "I'm working right now, so that hopefully I can get those colleges on my list and they can see I'm their type of player."
A scholarship could come this summer from the Nittany Lions, where Smith's brother Terry is an assistant. Major will attend a one-day camp at Penn State in July. The coaches want to see his speed and quickness.
"If he's explosive," Smith said, "then we're pretty confident that he'll get a Penn State offer as well."
Major led Penn Hills with 31 receptions last season. He ranked among the WPIAL leaders two weeks into his junior season with 17 catches, 277 yards and five touchdowns.
Major's early-season pace slowed and he finished last season with 433 yards and seven touchdowns, a reason Smith says Major must get stronger.
"Strength and explosiveness are the two areas that he needs to continue to work on," Smith said. "It's true for most high school kids going to college but especially in Jules' case."
Major runs track for Penn Hills — any sprint from the 100 to 800 meters. He traditionally lines up wide for Penn Hills' offense, but wants to show more versatility this season. His longest touchdown last year was an 80-yarder in the season opener, but mostly his yards came in shorter chunks. But next season, rather than a possession receiver, "I want to be a playmaker," he said.
"He meets that prototypical wide receiver profile," said Smith, a former WVU receiver. "But I tell him all the time, he's only scratched the surface of his talent. He has no clue how good he's going to be."
Virginia Tech and UCLA couldn't be much farther apart, but both schools offered Butler lineman Jake Kradel in a 48-hour span this week. The 6-4, 285 junior guard and defensive tackle added the Hokies Tuesday and the Bruins Thursday. He added Ohio State earlier this month to a scholarship list that now stands at 23.
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.