FORT WAYNE – Colin Harruff isnt really sure when the desire took hold to make law enforcement his vocation. He figures maybe he picked some of it up when he was a little kid, overhearing stories from his uncle, a state trooper.
Doesnt matter when he got the bug; all he knows now is thats his goal. And like a slant pass over the middle, hes determined to get it, whether or not hes about to get popped by the middle linebacker.
Although this is his third year at Saint Francis, this is the start of his second season on the football team. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound receiver made a name for himself at Homestead. Twice he was named to the Indiana Football Coaches Association Class 5 All-State team, and as a senior, he caught 43 passes for nearly 750 yards and seven touchdowns.
He was a pretty accomplished receiver coming out of high school, Saint Francis coach Kevin Donley said.
But when an injured tendon in his right hand required surgery before the 2010 season began, he was redshirted. In nine games the following season, he caught seven passes. This year, already, he has four receptions.
And he doesnt mind the term possession receiver.
It means youre consistent, Harruff said. The big play receiver is hit-and-miss sometimes, and a possession receiver, they can always count on you. I just play the best I can. If that means catching a 5-yard ball for a first down, then Ill do that. If it means go get the deep ball, Ill do that.
Eventually, though, the objects of pursuit skills will change drastically.
Harruff doesnt want to be just a cop in a cruiser, although he quickly adds its a noble calling. But he wants a little more – whats the word he used? – adventure.
Being a U.S. marshal started to take my immediate attention when I got to college, Harruff said. I started researching some stuff and doing research papers on bureaus and different departments in the U.S., as well as local and state.
The U.S. Marshal (Service) caught my attention with some of the things they do, like fugitive hunting. If theres an outstanding warrant or something, theyll go find them, or if they escape from prison, theyre the people they call.
Like sitting out a redshirt year and earning his stripes, Harruff knows he has to wait his turn.
He will turn 21 in a couple months, which means hell be eligible to be a reserve officer. From there could be a full-time gig in a cruiser after he graduates from Saint Francis. And up the ladder hell climb until he can reach his goal.
There are thousands of people who fill out applications, Harruff said of the U.S. marshal job. They only take certain people. Say they have 60 U.S. marshals retire worldwide, then they take only 60 applications total. If you get chosen as one of those, you go through a long interview process. They look over your (college) transcripts. Itll definitely be a long process, but it will be worth it.
But first, there are essentially three years of college football remaining for the sophomore with a 3.4 grade-point average.
I think hes a solid kid, Donley said. I think hes a good person. Hes got a strong value system and he wants to do the right things, and I think he does the right things. He works awfully hard and hes a mature kid who makes good decisions for himself.