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Alta's Handley excited about future at Utah



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SANDY — Harrison Handley had a difficult choice to make this summer - play for BYU where his dad Darren was a tight end from 1986-88, or blaze his own path at Utah.

He chose the Utes.

A campus visit with coaches Jay Hill and Ilaisa Tuiaki convinced him that it was the right time to make his college decision.

"We were talking in their offices and it just felt like the right place for me," he says. "If felt like home and I love the coaches up there so that's the place for me and I committed."


...it just felt like the right place for me. It felt like home and I love the coaches up there so that's the place for me and I committed.

–Alta WR Harrison Handley


His decision to pass on BYU wasn't easy and surprised many because of his father's ties to the Cougars. Darren Handley caught 104 passes for 1315 yards and 5 touchdowns during his career and was the leading receiver at BYU in 1987.

Harrison says his father was 100 percent supportive of his decision.

"It was my decision," Harrison says. "He helped me with whatever I needed. Whenever I asked him questions he was awesome with it so he's just as excited as I am. It's awesome."

From left, Bingham's Drake Miller, Koa Wilson and Sky Manu tackle Alta's Harrison Handley a football game at the Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
From left, Bingham's Drake Miller, Koa Wilson and Sky Manu tackle Alta's Harrison Handley a football game at the Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

Alta head coach Bob Stephens, a former BYU player himself, believes Harrison has the work ethic to be successful at the next level.

"He'll do well," Stephens says. "Harrison works hard at everything he's doing. He runs great routes. He catches extremely well. He's 6'6" which never hurts and has good speed. We're expecting great things from him."

Harrison only caught 7 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown as a junior playing on a deep and talented Alta team last season. His impressive performances in camps over the summer including the Elite 11 quarterback camp caught the attention of college coaches.

He is a team captain along with fellow receiver Ammon Barker forming one of the best, if not the best, receiver duo in Utah high school football.

Now that his college decision has been made he is concentrating on leading Alta back to a state championship game for the first time since 2008.

"This year as a team we're all together, we're family," he says. "This year is definitely one of the most important years because we know that we can (win a championship) and we know that if we work hard we can accomplish that goal."

Alta has gotten off to a great start towards achieving that goal this season with wins over Timpview and Bingham.

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Jeremiah Jensen

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