Often times the decision about what college to attend comes down to just finding a spot that ’feels right’. And that’s the way it was with Northeastern State footballer Matthew Harker.
“Coming out of high school at Tulsa Union, I first committed with another school. But when I visited there, I didn’t like the school or the campus. When I came to NSU it felt much different. I love how the school and the town just kind of merge together. Coming to NSU was the best decision of my life,” said the health and physical education major.
Harker is a redshirt sophomore this year and plays center for the RiverHawks football team. Coming from a quality high school football program like Union, you might think he was pretty well prepared for college ball, but Harker says he learned a big lesson his first day of practice at NSU.
“My former teammate, Madison Wrather, told me that first day that we don’t have half-speed reps-we go full speed all the time. I just thought he was joking until I got steam-rollered on my first play, so I quickly adapted,” he chuckled.
Academics is also big part of campus life for Harker who made the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletic Association Honor Roll this year.
“When I first thought about college, I envisioned these big classrooms with like 100 students but at NSU I really like the smaller class sizes. The teacher has time to work with you one-on-one, if needed, and in some majors like mine you might have the same instructor for several classes so that student-teacher relationship is even more important.”
Balancing football and class work can be tricky, but Matthew has developed a system.
“During the season I try to get all of my homework for the week done early in the week and then concentrate on football the rest of the week and on Saturday. You can’t be good at one and bad at the other and succeed.”
Another secret to being a successful football lineman it appears is cheeseburgers.
“Three words to describe me? Responsible, hardworking and cheeseburgers,” laughed the burly 6-3, 305-pound center.
“While good cheeseburgers are pretty important, the most important one of these for me is hardworking because that’s what I’ve had to do all my life to be successful.”
For high school seniors considering college, Harker had kind words for NSU.
“I would tell a prospective student about the campus life here at Northeastern State because there’s always something to do on campus or in town.”