If someone wanted to find the perfect candidate for a poster child who illustrates what an elite student-athlete should resemble, Nyckolas Harbor would be a strong candidate. Not only is he an outstanding two-sport athlete but he’s an honor student in the classroom and a leader among his peers.
A junior at Archbishop Carroll High School in the District, Nyckolas has been described as a “special young man” by Carroll Assistant Track Coach Victor Blackett. Blackett helped recruit the youth to the prestigious school in Northwest.
“You rarely see a young, five-star athlete who possesses all the qualities that he has,” he said. “He epitomizes what we look for at Carrol High School.
Added Robert Harris Jr., head football coach, “There’s no question about it — Nyckolas is a once-in-a-lifetime young man. He combines outstanding God-given talent on the football field and on the track and he excels in the classroom.”
“He’s very mature for his age. His parents have done a remarkable job. And while he’s the youngest in the family they still have standards for him.”
Harbor’s journey to Carroll started in the sport of track and field where he was ranked as the top 8th grader in the country in sprints. He was heavily recruited by several local schools in the DMV but in the end, Carroll was his choice. His exposure came primarily through his track and field coach and the relationship the track club, Club Full Speed, maintained under the leadership of Pamela Crock.
“I had a great relationship with Coach Ra [Carroll head track coach Rafiu Bakare],” Nyckolas said. “The things he said to me about how I could develop into something special helped me make my decision. He also talked about the things they could offer to make my experience as a student and athlete a positive one. It just felt right.”
His journey in track was a relatively smooth one. Then his career took a turn.
“Coach Harris approached me and said he felt that I could contribute to the football program,” he recalled. “I loved football because I had played it at the youth level and had done well until I started having problems with asthma and decided to concentrate on track. I liked the idea and said, why not?”
He went on to make the varsity team as a freshman and actually started a game before being sent down to junior varsity, something he said was inevitable because he just wasn’t strong enough — yet.
During his sophomore season in 2020, Carroll played an abbreviated season due to COVID-19. But in the final game of a three-game season, it seems that the light bulb went off for him.
“Because of COVID, we had to do things differently,” Harris said. “In that last game at O’Connell, he had an awesome game. You could see then that he was going to be special.”
At that point, Harbor started to get the nod and attention of recruiters — but for track and field. However, a change would come, and it would come quickly.
“That is when more and more offers came for football,” he said. “I think they all knew that I had speed, but not that kind of speed for someone my size.”
Last June, Nyckolas ran in the prestigious Nike Classic in Eugene, Oregon. Not yet 16, the talented youth recorded a 10.3 in the 100 meters, almost unheard of for a 15-year-old. And with that, the power schools in the NCAA began looking at him with a much keener eye including national champion Georgia, runner-up Alabama and The Ohio State University.
So what are his plans as he enters his senior season?
“This past year was fun,” he said. “I enjoyed it with my fellow teammates and students at Carroll. Now as I get ready for my senior season, things have to get a little more serious. As I prepare for college, wherever I decide to go, I have to be prepared. It is going to be a lot harder at the next level. I will be on my own and will not have my parents and support group with me.”
“I plan to become a neurosurgeon and go to nursing school at some point either after I play in the NFL or run track professionally.”
“As a young Black man, I know that there is a target on my back, so I have to put in the work if I am going to be successful, no matter what I choose to do. I owe it to my parents because they have put in a lot of work in me and this will be a way of thanking them,” he said.