Bakersfield College sophomore defensive back Justin Harrington had very lofty ambitions for the 10-game season in 2019.
"I'm going for 10 picks," Harrington said during a preseason interview. "That's the goal."
Through two games, Harrington was on pace to achieve that goal, securing interceptions in games against Mt. Sac and El Camino. And while the Renegades, who rank second as a team in the CCCAA with nine interceptions, Harrington hasn't joined in the pick party as of late, and is looking to make up for lost time in his quest for double-digit INTs.
If his freshman season is any indication, he'll have a great opportunity to do so Saturday.
Making his first junior college start, Harrington had a coming out party in a week five game against Orange Coast a season ago. The Raleigh, N.C. native recorded his first career interception on the Pirates' second possession, then capped a 41-7 Renegade win late in the fourth quarter, corralling a tipped pass and returning it 98 yards for a touchdown.
“That being my first game started, it was kind of a breakout for me," Harrington said. "It felt great.”
The Orange Coast game kick-started a season that ended with a First-Team All SCFA North selection for Harrington, who now has his sights on earning a spot on a high-level FBS roster in 2020.
Harrington recently secured an offer from UNC Charlotte to go along with the ones he's already received from Oregon State, Colorado, Iowa State, Houston and Louisiana Monroe.
After breathing a sigh of relief when the first offers came in the Spring, Harrington says the attention has only sharpened his focus, and he's optimistic he still has a lot to show recruiters.
“(Getting a offer) was kind of relieving at first," he said. "But then after a week or two, you kind of get more determined. I’ve just felt more determined to see what other schools can find me.”
He's also determined to help BC salvage a season that is off to a disappointing 1-3 start heading into conference play. Following a winnable Saturday tilt with 1-3 Orange Coast, the banged-up Renegades get a bye week before hosting fifth-ranked Ventura in their SFCA North opener.
Though no one in the locker room is satisfied with the performance so far, Harrington insists panic hasn't set in, seeing non-conference play “as a stepping stone to get ready and strive for perfection" when conference play starts.
"Looking at our record, you can say ‘Oh, they’re not as good as last year,’ but when conference play starts, it’s hard to beat us, regardless of what our record looks like," Harrington said. "We’re pretty confident.”