Newly drafted Washington Redskins wide receiver Kelvin Harmon does not remember much about his time in Liberia -- he came to the United States when he was four years old -- but he points to his Liberian ancestry for teaching him to work hard and be spiritual, two things he prides himself on.
He also credits his father for helping instill the values of commitment and sacrifice in him as the family struggled culturally and financially upon moving to the U.S.
These experiences and lessons have shaped Harmon, the Redskins' sixth-round pick in this year's draft, and will continue to guide him as he begins his professional football career.
"They're definitely excited, just seeing the sacrifices pay off for me," Harmon said of his parents during his press conference at the NFL Combine in March. "[My dad] is definitely my everything. He sacrificed a lot for me, having me at a young age, and he turned his life over for me and my brother, taught us the values of hard work and being respectful."
Harmon was a two-time All-ACC performer in three seasons at N.C. State. As a freshman in 2016, he compiled 462 yards on just 27 receptions -- good for 7.1 yards per catch -- and hauled in five touchdowns. He burst into the conference spotlight the next season with 69 catches, 1,017 yards and four touchdowns and saved his best campaign for his final year in Raleigh, N.C., earning first-team All-ACC honors with 81 catches, 1,186 yards and seven scores in 2018.
Harmon's impressive collegiate career at N.C. State helped propel him to be labeled as one of the better wide receivers in the 2019 Draft. When the Redskins made the call to tell Harmon he was going to be selected with the 206th pick in the Draft, it was a big relief for him.
"Oh man I was excited to get the call," Harmon said. "You know I've been waiting but everything is in god's hands so this is the team I'm supposed to be on so I'm ready to go to work."
One of Harmon's biggest criticisms has been his lack of breakaway and explosive speed. At the NFL Combine, Harmon ran a 4.60 40-yard dash, which was 32nd out of all wide receivers at the combine. While his speed might not have been on display at the Combine, Harmon believes he is faster than a lot of people give him credit for.
"I definitely think I have great game speed," Harmon said. "I play fast, I don't waste a lot of movement, and I understand leverage on the DBs and how to attack them, so I definitely think my speed is an asset."
Above all, Harmon believes his ball skills and mentality are what make him a dangerous receiver. Harmon likes to play fast and physical while fighting for the ball, similar to New Orleans Saints All-Pro Michael Thomas.
"Those 50-50 balls are normally 90-10 balls my way," Harmon said, "and if I don't catch it, it's not going to be an interception."
A lot of Harmon's abilities and hard work on the field draws back to his families roots in Liberia. Harmon's work ethic helps him on the field, competing to the whistle on every play.
"Yeah, it's just that alpha mentality," Harmon said. "Always competing hard, whether I'm blocking or catching the ball, it's just always hard and just wanting to get the ball away from my opponent."