Get to Know Derrick Harvey Jr.

With the game on the line in Week 9, first-year wideout Derrick Harvey Jr. made a sensational catch. With a defender bearing down on him, as well as the wall, Harvey went up and got it for a much needed four-point conversion. The snag gave Billings four points and a chance to win the game with a walk-off two-point kick. 

Although the catch was heavily contested and a touch spot physically, Harvey’s entire football career made this one easy for him. 

Early Life

Born in Akron, Ohio, Harvey was the son of Dionnia Shaffer and Derrick Harvey Sr – a wide receiver himself at the University of Minnesota. At Buchtel High School, Harvey stood out, but not necessarily on the offensive side of the ball. 

He was an all-state safety and was getting looks for his work on defense. However, he had no intentions of continuing that after he graduated. 

“I wanted to pursue playing wide receiver more,” Harvey explained. “I like scoring touchdowns and stuff like that.”

Harvey’s drive to become a pass catcher in college also came from an urge to prove people wrong. As he matured in the game, many told him he wouldn’t be able to keep up at that position. 

“Growing up, I wasn’t the fastest kid, so just the speed factor [led to doubts],” he recalled. 

“So they didn’t think I could play at a major level at wide receiver without being fast. Really just going through that adversity, learning how to pace my routes, and move a little differently – get in and out of breaks and stuff like that – got me here.”

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College Football

Harvey got his chance to play his preferred position in college when he got an offer from HBCU Savannah State. After a tough year and a half that saw him redshirt once and not get on the field all that much, he made his way to Division III powerhouse University of Mount Union. It was there that he really came into his own. 

After a decent first season with the Purple Raiders, Harvey was named a captain in his junior season. He helped to lead the school to a national title game. Unfortunately for Harvey and so many others, it was difficult to build on that momentum due to the COVID-affected season.

Following graduation, Harvey put together a solid pro day and found a place to play football professionally overseas.


In 2022, Harvey joined the Allgäu Comets of the German Football League as one of their two allowed American players. That season, he helped lead them to the semi-finals while leading the league in touchdowns and receiving yards. 

He’d go for 18 touchdowns and over 1300 yards in just 12 games. While those numbers are strong on their own, when you consider the circumstances, they’re even more impressive. 

“They only have two Americans on the field on each side of the ball. So a lot of teams, once they realized we have an American receiver – sometimes I was getting triple guarded,” Harvey recalled. 

“Just trying to work around that while still making plays definitely was difficult, but I think it kind of helped me as well.”

With sometimes as many as three defensive backs trying to deny him, one and a wall would look like child’s play. 

Back Stateside

After the season in Germany, Harvey didn’t get offers that matched precisely what he sought. As a result, he headed home to the States. It wound up being good timing as it allowed him to be there for the birth of his daughter. 

With the lack of quality offers and the major life change, he decided to take the year off and focus on his family. 

However, the offer came quicker than Harvey was ready for. The Arena Football League came calling before long. Harvey nearly declined the opportunity, but his fiancee’s support led him to the league. 

“When this opportunity came, I almost didn’t want to take it because I didn’t want to leave my daughter and fiancee,” Harvey explained. 

“She kind of convinced me – this is your dream, this is your passion, go for it… without her, I probably wouldn’t be playing football.”

Harvey decided to go for it across the country to play for the Billings Outlaws. 

The Arena Football League

Harvey’s first year in the league isn’t just highlighted by a single four-point conversion. He’s racked up double-digit touchdowns on the season and has helped lead Billings into contention as one of the very best teams in the league. 

The passionate fans of Billings have his fiancee to thank for a lot of that. Not only was she there to nudge him in the right direction, but she was a continual support for him even halfway across the country. 

“I FaceTime them every day, at least four times a day,” he said, including that he does as he walks out onto the practice field. “She’s a momma’s girl.”

While some teammates or coaches might give a guy a hard time about that, it’s all love around these parts for Harvey. He credits that support for why Billings is in a position to win a championship. 

“We have a wonderful coaching staff just putting us in these situations to never fail and to believe in each other,” he explained. 

“The one thing that I love about this team, like we’re friends outside of football. We hang out, we go grab food, go to the gym together, we hang out in the hotel, play the games. All that helps us on the field even more because we have a bond outside of football – I know I can trust them.”

His teammates know they can trust him to make big plays like he did in Week 9 as Billings makes that final push towards the playoffs.

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