• John Macon Gillespie

Harvey Becoming "Go-To" Receiver for Starkville

The Starkville Yellowjackets come to the mind of just about anyone who is projecting 6A favorites for this fall. With a defense that will again be loaded with talent, the thought is that offensive mastermind Chris Jones will make it work in his second season as head coach at the school.

After all, Dreke Clark was one of the state’s best running backs in 2017. And he appears more than capable of carrying the Jackets back to the 6A championship game. Last weekend in jamboree action at SHS the passing game was on display, though.

Frankly, watching Luke Atlmyer complete 16 of 23 passes for over 250 yards - against a defense from Whitehave(TN) full of D1 prospects - was a scary glimpse at what the offense can be. Keep in mind, there is no Cam Gardner or Cameron Hines back at receiver. But the Jackets should have plenty of capable options, Rufus Harvey was unquestionably Altmyer’s favorite target last Friday.

“We have the mindset to be better than we were last year,” Harvey told SES Mississippi. “We can be the best offense in 6A this season. Being able to have a strong passing game and also a strong run game. We just have to keep working.”

Harvey caught eight passes for 157 and Altmyer’s only touchdown pass of the night during the spring game. Routinely Altmyer dropped strikes downfield against Whitehaven and Harvey was in place and made the play every time. Whether it was over the middle or down the sideline, it was clear the two have solid chemistry. As well, coach Chris Jones know how to put the duo in position to make plays.

“My strength is my speed, being able to create separation,” Harvey explained. “I can make a man miss with the ball in my hands. And I’m able to high point the ball.”

Though Harvey is just finishing up his sophomore season in the classroom, he’s already team-focused. And he understands the work is never done.

“We had a pretty good game throwing the ball. Give credit to the o-line. They gave (Altmyer) time to sit in the pocket and put it where it needed to be,” Harvey said. “That was only spring. We still have a long way to go and time to get better.”

Besides returning talent on both sides of the ball, Starkville has the burn of last season pushing them this offseason. That’s a scary proposition for 6A North contenders. Last December the Jackets came up just short at the hands of the Pearl Pirates inside Davis-Wade stadium.

“We didn’t finish in the fourth quarter,” Harvey noted. “We use that as motivation.”

If their performance on their home field, against a 6A title contender from Tennessee, last Friday is any indication they’re about to take it out on opponents under the lights on Friday nights this Fall.

Photo courtesy of Keith Warren, MHSAA

#JohnLukeMcCord #Starkville

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