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Donovan Harbour needed Happy Valley trip to pick Penn State
Four-star interior offensive lineman Donovan Harbour holds his cousin, Dehja Retic after announcing his commitment to Penn State at Catholic Memorial High School. (Credit: Mark Stewart / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Donovan Harbour needed Happy Valley trip to pick Penn State

WAUKESHA, Wis. (BVM) – Heading into his trip to Penn State for the Nittany Lions spring game in Happy Valley, four-star offensive lineman Donovan Harbour wasn’t sure where he was going to commit to. However, by the end of his trip, he was so certain that while they were still on campus, Harbour made sure his family got some gear so they were ready for the announcement. Harbour even came up with a way to get his young cousin, Dehja Retic, involved in the announcement.

“When we had went to the shop at Penn State, I just had seen baby clothes and I was like, ‘Oh snap I got to get Dehja involved with this,’” Harbour said. 

Two days after his trip, he was in the gymnasium at Catholic Memorial High School with his family, friends and coaches around him announcing his commitment to Penn State. 

“It was pretty exciting showing other people where my next home is going to be,” Harbour said.

The 6-foot-4, 330-pound interior offensive lineman out of Catholic Memorial High School had about 20 offers including ones from Ohio State, Michigan, Auburn and Florida as well as Penn State. He is considered the seventhbest interior offensive lineman in the country and is the No. 1 recruit in Wisconsin for the Class of 2024. Harbour’s commitment to Penn State means he’s the secondbest recruit in the class for Penn State behind Quinton Martin and gives the Nittany Lions the fifthbest recruiting class in the nation for the Class of 2024. 

This past season, Harbour moved from left tackle to guard and helped the Crusaders rush for 2,824 yards and 51 touchdowns. CMH finished the season as state runners-up. 

The prior year, he played left tackle and won the starting spot as a sophomore. Catholic Memorial won state that year and Harbour began to realize his football career could go beyond high school. 

“Knowing that if I could beat the competitor in front of me, then I could beat more competitors ahead of me,” Harbour said about winning the starting left tackle job and the effect it had on his belief he could play in college. 


He also started to see some of the benefits of being on the offensive line. Harbour always wanted to be a tight end. He’s still trying to get Crusaders head coach Bill Young to give him a chance and once he’s at Penn State, he’ll get to work on convincing Franklin to give him some snaps at tight end or fullback. But if he’s unsuccessful, he has still found a way to have fun on the offensive line. 

“At left tackle, I’m on my own blocking people into the dirt, taking my anger out,” Harbour said. “That’s what defensive guys don’t think about; offensive lineman they can really take their anger out on other people.”

Harbour started whittling down his list of schools but was nowhere near a decision when he went to Happy Valley. Late in December, he announced his top seven schools were Penn State, Tennessee, Ohio State, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan and Oregon.

“It was iffy,” Harbour said about what way he was leaning ahead of his Penn State trip. “Then as soon as I like stepped foot on campus and met with all the coaches I was just like, ‘Oh yeah this is the right place for me.’” 

Harbour said his conversations with the coaching staff, and in particular head coach James Franklin, was what won him over. Franklin expressed his commitment to the Nittany Lions as well as his emphasis on education. For Harbour, who’s determined to graduate Penn State with a degree, knowing his coaches are ready to help him succeed academically went a long way. 

Donovan Harbour Penn State Nittany Lions Catholic Memorial High School
Catholic Memorial’s Donovan Harbour (79) hugs teammate Marvanous Butler (5) following their 20-14 victory over Two Rivers. (Credit: Gary C. Klein/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK)

With his decision made, Harbour can now enjoy the end of his junior year and look forward to his future at Penn State.  

“It’s great, I’m just a Penn State guy now…I just got to worry about me going to Penn State,” Harbour said. 

That does include talking to fellow recruits about the Nittany Lions. A few days after he committed, fellow Wisconsin native and three-star offensive tackle recruit out of Arrowhead High School Garrett Sexton committed to Penn State. Harbour had been talking to Sexton and found out about his commitment in the Penn State offensive line recruits’ group chat. Now, Harbour has to try to get Corey Smith to Happy Valley. 

Smith is considered the second-best recruit in Wisconsin for the Class of 2024 and Rivals has him as the No. 1 recruit in the state. Smith has been the star running back for Catholic Memorial and a close friend of Harbour’s since before they were at CMH. They were both being recruited by the Nittany Lions and Smith was with Harbour on the trip to State College, Pennsylvania.

“As soon as I stepped on campus I was like, ‘You’re coming with me,’” Harbour said about what he told Smith when the two got to Penn State for their visit. 


The relationship between the offensive line and running backs is already close and these two were like brothers before football. Out on the field, the success speaks for itself. 

CMH has one of the best running games in the state and having those two is a huge part of that. Smith has not committed anywhere yet but trying to recreate that success at Happy Valley is not a bad idea. It certainly would help Harbour make his message to Nittany Lions fans come true. 

“We’re bringing a national championship, I don’t care what anybody says and we got the best head coach in the game,” Harbour said.

Photo: Four-star interior offensive lineman Donovan Harbour holds his cousin, Dehja Retic after announcing his commitment to Penn State at Catholic Memorial High School. (Credit: Mark Stewart / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK)