FEATURED ATHLETE INTERVIEW: NSC
Q: Tell us about your college (or pro) career and what the recruiting/scouting process was like?
A: Recruiting for me was a joy but I did not embrace it as others would have. I was recruited by all the powerhouse schools in the country. However, I was doing recruiting for my high school teammates because we didn’t have coaches doing so. I committed early to Florida St. because I would be able to play in my hometown and I believed it was great situation. By committing early, it brought a lot of attention to my teammates because schools wanted to see the FSU recruit. Things did not go as planned at FSU so I transferred to Middle Tennessee, where things got worst for me. Fortunately, I was able to keep my eyes on the prize to accumulate 74 tackles, 3 INTs, 1 Force Fumble and Fumble recovery. I only started 8 out of 12 games and never finished a full game.
Q: What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment in your sports career so far?
A: As a Professional, I have a journey few to none wouldn’t dare to walk. I refuse to give up on myself so I became my own agent. Started working at Walmart in the Toy department and eventually signed with the Buffalo Bills. As of today, I am the only player to sign and negotiate 12 Professional contracts (National Football League, Canadian football League, Indoor Football League, National Arena League, Arena Football League). I was also able to get myself into the XFL 2020 Supplementary Draft as well.
Q: How was your career impacted due to the 2020 pandemic and what have you learned from the adversity?
A: I have had so many heartbreaks, ups and down that this pandemic was another obstacle I will not stop me. I have built calluses on my mind. I grind so hard that whenever adversity hits, nothing changes.
Q: What was your major and what are your plans if football doesn’t work out?
A: I have a Health, Wellness Fitness & Athletics business for 6 years now, called Make Adjustments Delete Excuses (M.A.D.E.). My Wife (Brigét) is the Vice President and Head of the Board. It is four of us on staff with coaches in Tampa, Florida, Tallahassee, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. We are able to reach those who are distant members or future members. We offer Online Training for those who want to workout in the gym. It has a daily weekly routine that targets specific muscle groups and video tutorials to prevent confusion. There is our Virtual Fitness for those who want home workouts and we offer Personal Training. Also, our program provides great Meal Guides to help with creating a healthier lifestyle for Omnivores, Vegans, Vegetarians and Pescatarians. You can check us out at www.made2enhance.com
Q: What would your current/past teammates say about you and your qualities?
A: INSPIRATIONAL. Everywhere I have been, I always leave there with something that they will never forget. It can be on the field or off the field, there is something that is going to impact you; from a play that is made by me or a some words to bring the best out of you.
Q: What has been one of the most memorable plays of your career at any level?
A: It was in High School and it was a kick return. The ball was kicked to me and I fumbled on the goal line. My teammates missed every block it seemed like but in reality, our opponents smelled blood like sharks in the water. I finally got a hold onto the ball gave a juke move that stunned the entire kick off team. That gave me the opportunity to escape for a 8 yards and out of the blue, my teammate since my parks and recreational days gave a key block that set me free for an 100 yard touchdown.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge and how do you manage it?
A: My Father was a Heat Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Mechanic at our Hospital in Tallahassee. He contracted lunges disease from an asbestos explosion. He suffered on oxygen for 17 years, which made me grow up faster. He passed in 2018, while I was preparing for a tryout for the Arena Football League (AFL) Team Baltimore Renegades. I stopped preparing to get back home to my Mother, who they have been married for 34 years. Then less than 9 months later, my Mother was diagnosed with breast cancer so I forfeit my 2019 season after two games to be with her during her time of need. She beat cancer in 2019 and is cancer free to this day. With all that going on, I told myself to not blink, stay focused and everything will happen in due time because a delay is not a deny.
Q: If you could compare yourself to a pro athlete, who would that be and why?
A: With all due to respect, I cannot compare myself to anyone because no one ever had to become their own agent, negotiate and sign 12 Professional contracts. Let’s not forget I didn’t become my agent by choice. No other athlete had to become their own nutritionist, coach, and do their own marketing. I have to wear so many hats to get where I am at and where I want to be. I am the only and I only can compare myself to myself.
Q: What is your biggest strength that you bring to a professional team and why should pro scouts consider you?
A: RELENTLESS! My passion has given me the desire to push through any adversity that I face. To be a leader you have to be able to show your teammates you will never surrender. To be a leader you have to be smarter than your opponent and smart enough to help your teammates win more than they lose in the mental battle. To be a leader, you heve to grit and my grit is the fuel to my relentless attitude.
Q: Are you involved in mentoring, a charity or do you “give back” or ”pay it forward” in your community?
A: I give back in many forms. One is by giving to hose who cannot afford to pay for Fitness Training, I bring them on as models for us, and they only pay with their hard work and dedication. I also volunteer at high schools in my hometown Tallahassee, Florida and Tampa, Florida. Finally, if I see someone working hard in the gym or outside on a field, I give my time to give encouragement or a helping hand when is needed. I always do my best by giving my time which comes with treating everyone how I like to be treated.
Q: How are you preparing for the 2021 National Scouting Combine and what are your goals?
A: I am treating my preparations as I treat my daily life as a NFL Free Agent and that is stay ready so you won’t have to get ready, for the call back into NFL. I am being the ultimate professional. The only goal I have is to be the best Jajuan Michael Harley I can be. I do not believe in competition because at the end of the day it is about me being better than I was yesterday. When I be the best Jajuan Michael Harley, everything else will take care of itself.
Q: What would be your ultimate achievement?
A: Starting a family with my Beautiful Wife (Brigét), who’s working on her doctoral degree in English at the University of South Florida. We will be married for two years in May.
Q: What do you enjoy doing when not playing football?
A: I enjoy spending time with my Wife (Brigét) and listening to Smooth Jazz, Soul R&B and Afro-Beats.
Q: If you could make a positive impact on all of society what would it be and why?
A: DO THE RIGHT THING! We all know what’s right and what is wrong, it is something we are born with. For example, who teaches a child how to be dishonest. You ask the child if they did something bad, knowingly they did and the answer you get is dishonesty. The child’s gut or second brain told them it is bad thing to do but they chose otherwise. With all that being said, if the human species started to do the right things in life, the world will be a better place.
Q: Who is or has been the most influential person in your life?
A: My Mother (Cynthia) and Father (Jack). I know the question as for an individual but there is no Jajuan Michael Harley without them. The things they had to overcome as kids, adults, a married couple and parents is what encourages me because they were able to persevere through it all.
Q: What is something unique about you that people would find interesting?
A: I am a prankster. I love pulling a good joke on someone out of love, not to embrace the person, just to get them to chuckle a little bit.
Q: What is your dream job?
A: My dream job is what I am doing now and that is helping others; either with my journey because the motivation you will receive from my powerful message or enhancing lives through my business Make Adjustments Delete Excuses (M.A.D.E.).