Heath Harding (#24) is a defensive back for Miami University located in Oxford, Ohio. Harding grew up in Dayton, Ohio and attended high school at Dayton Christian. Harding was a very talented football player in high school as he played both running back and cornerback. During his high school career Harding was nominated for Mr. Ohio Football and also received All-State and All-Area Honors. Harding was also named the areas Offensive Player of the Year. During his career, Harding rushed for 5,124 yards and his 102 total touchdowns ranked 7th all-time in the Ohio prep record books at the end of 2012. Harding spent time playing corner where he recorded 177 tackles and 6 interceptions.
Harding had a successful career while being a member of the Red Hawks. Harding never imagined he would fulfill his dream of playing collegiate football and Miami University immediately felt like home. Harding said, “I never thought I would end up there to be honest. Once I went on my official visit and met the guys in my recruiting class I knew instantly that I was going to be a Red Hawk.” Harding started off his freshman season playing corner after playing offense his entire life. Harding had 54 total tackles (40 solo and 14 assisted), 3 tackles for a loss, 3 interceptions, 4 pass deflections and 2 forced fumbles his freshman season. Sophomore season Harding was named Miami’s Defensive Skill Player of the Year after moving from corner to safety. Junior year, however, Harding experienced a set back as he was red shirted due to injury. In 2016, Harding was named All-MAC First Team finishing the season with 67 tackles (42 solo and 25 assisted), 6.5 tackles for a loss, 4 interceptions and 11 pass deflections. Harding was grateful for his time as a Red Hawk as he said, “they made me feel special everyday and I owe them everything for shaping me into the person I am today.” Harding finished 2017 as All-MAC Performer and finished his career with 290 tackles, 10 interceptions and 27 pass deflections.
Harding had many dreams during his time at Miami University. Harding mentioned, “my goal coming into Miami was to bring Miami back to its glory of when Ben Roethlisberger was there. They use to show us pictures of how the stadium use to be so packed during the games so I always wanted to have that again in Oxford before I graduated.” This past season his dream had come true when Miami University played the University of Cincinnati. Harding explained, “it was crazy, walking outside seeing the stands full on both sides and we were playing our rival, it was like one of those, dang look how far we came as a program, moments.” Harding had many goals he had looked to accomplish while at Miami University such as being named All-MAC and embracing the unknown. Both of which he was able to accomplish during his time there.
Harding had a successful career playing for Miami University and when I asked him to reflect on his performances he said, “I wanted my time at Miami to be memorable, not just to me but to others so when I’m long gone things I’ve done around campus/on the field aren’t forgotten.” Harding is currently training in Tampa, Florida at ASPI, which is led by former NFL player Yo Murphy. Harding is focusing on becoming a tactician, as well as getting bigger, faster, and stronger. Harding explains, “I’m not a finished product at all so I have flaws that I look to work on over the course of the process and build upon my strengths.” Harding had the opportunity to participate in the Shrine game. With this opportunity Harding had the ability to prove to people that even from a small school he could compete with the top players. Harding embraced this opportunity saying, “it’s a blessing to even have the opportunity to be in this situation so I was just trying to embrace it all and ask as many questions from the coaches as I could.” Next time you hear Heath Harding’s name it will be during the NFL Draft in April.