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Colin Harruff
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 200 pounds
Year: Sophomore
Position: Wide receiver
High school: Homestead
Major: Criminal justice
Saint Francis
vs. Saint Ambrose
When: Noon Saturday
Where: Bishop D’Arcy Stadium
Radio: 1450 AM
Swikar Patel | The Journal Gazette
Sophomore receiver Colin Harruff, left, majors in criminal justice at the University of Saint Francis. He hopes to be a U.S. marshal.

He nabs passes now, criminals in future

– Colin Harruff isn’t 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.

Doesn’t matter when he got the bug; all he knows now is that’s his goal. And like a slant pass over the middle, he’s determined to get it, whether or not he’s 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 doesn’t mind the term “possession receiver.”

“It means you’re 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 I’ll do that. If it means go get the deep ball, I’ll do that.”

Eventually, though, the objects of pursuit skills will change drastically.

Harruff doesn’t want to be just a cop in a cruiser, although he quickly adds it’s a noble calling. But he wants a little more – what’s 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 there’s an outstanding warrant or something, they’ll go find them, or if they escape from prison, they’re 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 he’ll 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 he’ll 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. It’ll 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 he’s a solid kid,” Donley said. “I think he’s a good person. He’s 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 he’s a mature kid who makes good decisions for himself.”