7 On Your Sideline: Chandler Harnish

January 27, 2012 8:12:08 AM PST
Northern Illinois University (NIU) quarterback Chandler Harnish is a sight to behold on the football field. The conference MVP has broken every scoring record imaginable, but that is only half of what makes him impressive.

On the field, Chandler Harnish wins because of his legs and a big arm; off the field, Harnish wins because of his brains and a big heart.

The NIU senior is the MAC conference's most valuable player, and the Indiana native is just as valuable off the field.

"Just to be classified as someone like that is awesome, just because I know people are looking up to me as a role model. I try to do the right things. I'm not perfect, but I try to be a great role model, through community service, speaking engagements. Things off the field - going to class, doing my studies things like that," said Harnish. "If I have to be the face for Northern, I'll take that full-on, and I take it with a lot of pride."

Although his teammates help him excel on the field, Harnish has already earned his degree in business management and is pursuing a master's degree in business. He owns a 3.65 GPA as a Victory Scholar and he knows that credit solely belongs to two other people.

"My parents, 100 percent. I was raised, small-town, Bluffton, Indiana. Blue-collar; great values, and I was just always taught from a young age that sports will only take you so far, and someday, it's gonna end. That day's coming closer, but, hopefully it'll be a ways away," said Harnish. "Your education is what will take you through life."

"Being an ultra-competitor, both on the field and off the field, I think that carries over into the classroom, and I always just wanna beat my friends," said Harnish.

Harnish only needs 45 rushing yards to become the third quarterback in FBS history to rush for 3,000 yards and pass for 8,000 yards in a career. Getting him to figure out which one he enjoys more - passing or throwing - is just as hard as tackling him.

"I love throwing the ball; I guess I love running it too - I don't know, whatever the team needs, that's kind of the role I've taken in my career. Whatever needs to be done, I'll do it - I don't really shy away from a hit," said Harnish. "It's not just me - I have a great offensive line, receivers, running backs, tight ends, you name it - everything I've done individually is just a testament to what they've been able to help me do to get there."