Top Junior Harold Off To Good Start

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Rebounding from a knee injury that sidelined him for 8 1/2 games of his sophomore season, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, VA) junior defensive end/wide receiver Eli Harold is more focused and determined than ever on the gridiron. He figures to be an important piece of a Dolphins squad that is expected to contend for a state championship this season.

“I don’t think about it at all,” said Harold, referring to the knee fracture he suffered last season. “In fact, it makes me play harder. I’m mad about what happened last year.”

Ocean Lakes, which was forced to forfeit six games last season due to an ineligible player, is on a mission. It certainly has done well in two regular season games thus far, recording two straight shutouts against Princess Anne (51-0) and Salem (22-0), respectively.

“It was great,” Harold said of the season opening win over Princess Anne. “All of the guys were motivated. It was an emotional game. I got hurt last year. I worked so hard to get to where I am now. We worked so hard to get to where we are.”

The 6-4, 215-pound Harold had a solid season opener defensively but really excelled on the offensive end, hauling in four receptions for 95 yards and two scores, including a 58-yard touchdown reception on the Dolphins first offensive play. Against Salem, he and the rest of the Ocean Lakes defense stepped up despite dealing with some adversity.

“My quarterback, Lafonte [Thourogood], went down with a shoulder injury, but our defense rose to the occasion,” Harold said. “Our d-line really won us the game. We were in the backfield, hitting the quarterback the whole game. I had one sack, but I hit him like three times.”

On the recruiting front, Harold awaits his first official scholarship offer. Two major programs have verbally offered, but nothing has been made official so far.

“Virginia Tech verbally offered last year,” said Harold, who is being recruited by the Hokies as a defensive end. “I also went to Penn State’s camp a few months back. The wide receivers coach there said he liked me a lot and said I had an offer.”

North Carolina, ODU, UVa and West Virginia are showing interest as well. Harold isn’t close to a decision, but he does like the two schools that have verbally offered.