Chandler Harnish

Chandler Harnish
No. --Free agent
Position: Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1988-07-28) July 28, 1988
Place of birth: Bluffton, Indiana
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight: 220 lb (100 kg)
Career information
High school: Ossian (IN) Norwell
College: Northern Illinois
NFL Draft: 2012 / Round: 7 / Pick: 253
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at

Chandler Harnish (born July 28, 1988) is an American football quarterback who is a free agent. He was the final pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, selected 253rd overall by the Indianapolis Colts, becoming Mr. Irrelevant 2012. He played college football for Northern Illinois University, where he was the Huskies' starting quarterback for four years. Harnish has also been a member of the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals.

Early life

A native of Bluffton, Indiana, Harnish attended Norwell High School in Ossian, Indiana, where he was a letterman in football, basketball and track. At Norwell, he passed for 4,760 yards and 48 touchdowns, and also ran for 2,343 yards and 35 touchdowns. He was also a safety where he tallied 129 tackles, seven fumble recoveries, five forced fumbles, and 13 pass deflections. He holds multiple Norwell High records, including career all-purpose yards (7,103). As a senior, he led the Norwell Knights to a 14–1 record and the runner-up spot in the Indiana 3A state championship. Harnish was awarded the 2006 3A Phil N. Eskew Mental Attitude Award and was named an all-state player and the Fort Wayne News Sentinel Athlete of the Year as a senior.[1][2] Also, along with his brothers and sister, Chandler ran a sweet corn stand in Bluffton.

He also competed in basketball and track at Norwell. In basketball, Harnish earned all-conference honors as a junior and as a senior.[3] In track & field, Harnish was one of the state's top performers in the sprinting and throwing events. In sprints, he recorded times of 11.26 seconds in the 100 meters and 23.16 seconds in the 200 meters. As a thrower, he placed sixth in the discus at the Indiana state championships as a junior. He was the conference, sectional and regional discus champion who finished sixth in the State Finals as a junior, with a top-throw of 52.71 meters.[4]

Regarded as a two-star recruit by, Harnish only scholarship offer came from Northern Illinois, which he accepted.[5]

Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight 40 Commit date
Chandler Harnish
Bluffton, Indiana Norwell High School 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 209 lb (95 kg) 4.66 Aug 6, 2006 
Scout:2/5 stars   Rivals:2/5 stars   247Sports: N/A
Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: – (QB)   Rivals: – (QB), 12 (IN)
  • ‡ Refers to 40 yard dash
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height, weight and 40 time.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.


College career

On August 6, 2006, Harnish committed to Northern Illinois University,[6] the only FBS school that made him a scholarship offer.[7]

Despite not being heavily recruited out of high school, Harnish became one of the greatest quarterbacks in NIU history. He made his first start in the Huskies' first game of his freshman season. In that game, he nearly led the team to an upset over the Big Ten's Minnesota Golden Gophers. Harnish continued to be Huskies' starter for four straight years. He led the Huskies to a bowl game in all four years that he started, an achievement that surpassed the combined total of Division I bowl appearances by all other NIU quarterbacks before him.[8][9]

In his first three years at NIU (2008–2010), he started 31 games and totaled 7,332 yards of total offense, including 5,728 passing yards and 1,604 rushing yards.[10] He was selected as a first-team All-MAC player after the 2010 season, and also received the Vern Smith Leadership Award, as the best football player in the Mid-American Conference.[11]

During the 2011 regular season, Harnish had 4,043 yards of total offense, including 1,351 rushing yards and 2,692 passing yards.[12] Playing against Western Michigan on October 15, 2011, Harnish became only the 10th player in NCAA Division I FBS history with a 200–200 game, consisting of at least 200 rushing yards and 200 passing yards.[13] He rushed for a career-high 229 yards and passed for 203 yards in a 55–21 win over the Broncos.[14]

Harnish's average of 7.9 yards per carry during the 2011 regular season ranked third among players in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision with at least 100 carries.[15]

Harnish accumulated more than 11,000 yards of total offense in his four years at Northern Illinois.[12] He averaged 336.92 yards of total offense per game in 2011, ranking 7th in the Football Bowl Subdivision.[16] In November 2011, he was named one of 15 semifinalists for the Walter Camp Award as the best player in college football.[17]

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
6 ft 2 in 219 lb 4.68 s 1.60 s 2.65 s 4.15 s 6.78 s 32.5 in 9 ft 4 in

Harnish was selected in the 7th round (253 overall) by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2012 NFL Draft. As the last pick in the draft, he was given the mock title of Mr. Irrelevant.

Indianapolis Colts

On October 16, Harnish was released by Indianapolis, after being inactive for five regular season games.[18] He was re-signed to the team's practice squad two days later, but did not participate in any games during the 2012 NFL season. He competed for the backup job against Matt Hasselbeck in the 2013 preseason, but was waived and later signed to the practice squad.[19] He signed a reserve/futures contract on January 14, 2014, and was expected to be the backup to Andrew Luck. He was released by the Colts on August 30, 2014.[20]

Minnesota Vikings

On September 29, 2014, Harnish signed with the Minnesota Vikings, who placed him on their practice squad after starting QB's Matt Cassel was placed on injured reserve and Teddy Bridgewater had sprained his ankle.[21] On October 2, 2014, Harnish was put on the active roster to back up Christian Ponder in the Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings game after Bridgewater, who was injured in the previous game against Atlanta was deactivated for the game.[22] Harnish was waived the next day.[23] On October 7, 2014, Harnish was re-signed to the Vikings practice squad and quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson was released.[24] On December 16, 2014, Harnish was released by the Vikings.[25]

Arizona Cardinals

Harnish signed with the Arizona Cardinals on March 31, 2015.[26] During the 2015 NFL Draft, Harnish read the name of the 2015 Mr. Irrelevant, Gerald Christian. He was released on August 8.[27]


  1. "". Retrieved 2011-11-18.
  2. "NIU 2007 Football Signees (19)" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-11-17.
  3. Richards, Phil. "Colts rookie QB Chandler Harnish anything but irrelevant to hometown". Indy Star.
  6. "Chandler Harnish". Retrieved 2011-11-17.
  7. "Chandler Harnish". Retrieved 2011-11-17.
  8. Allen, Kevin (August 18, 2011). "Northern Illinois QB Chandler Harnish has come a long way". USA Today.
  9. Rick Armstrong (August 9, 2011). "Harnish ready to roll as Huskies leader". Chicago Sun-Times.
  10. "Chandler Harnish Bio". Northern Illinois University. Archived from the original on November 17, 2011. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
  11. "Harnish named first-team All-MAC: Norwell grad has led NIU to 10–2 record". WANE (Ft. Wanye, Indiana). December 2, 2010.
  12. 1 2 "Chandler Harnish Statistics". Retrieved November 27, 2011.
  13. "Harnish joins elite group with performance". MAC Report Online. October 16, 2011.
  14. Lacy L. Banks (October 15, 2011). "NIU's Chandler Harnish runs for 229 yards, throws for 203". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
  15. "Yards Per Rush Attempt Leaders – Qualified". Retrieved November 27, 2011.
  17. "NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish named one of 15 semifinalists for Walter Camp Award". Rockford Register Star. November 16, 2011.
  18. "Mr. Irrelevant Chandler Harnish released by Colts". National Football League. Retrieved 2012-10-17.
  19. "Colts return Harnish to practice squad". September 2, 2013. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
  20. "CHANDLER HARNISH". Retrieved September 11, 2014.
  21. "Vikings sign Chandler Harnish to practice squad". ESPN. September 29, 2014.
  22. Vikings sign Chandler Harnish from practice squad in case Teddy Bridgewater can't go, Retrieved October 2, 2014
  23. "Vikings waive QB Chandler Harnish, sign FB Zach Line". Sports Illustrated. October 5, 2014.
  24. Waive 1, Sign 3 To Practice Squad, Retrieved October 7, 2014
  25. Quarterback Chandler Harnish Released By Minnesota Vikings, Retrieved December 17, 2014
  27. "Arizona Cardinals release Chandler Harnish". August 8, 2015. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
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