By Kevin Schrock
The Arizona Cardinals decided to roll the dice on a 5’11” 215 pound safety out of a small college called The University of Findlay after he wasn’t selected in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Harold Jones-Quartey walked through the arch in UF orange and black in May and is now wearing Arizona red and black on the football field.
Quartey has not disappointed since the organization made that decision. After racking up six tackles in his first preseason game, Quartey then made highlight reels in game two when he made a diving interception against the San Diego Chargers. He averages four tackles a game through three preseason games to go along with his pick.
“The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is the level of competition,” said Quartey. “Everyone out here is so much bigger and faster than at the divison two college level.”
Maybe that’s why Quartey was able to put up some of the numbers he did when he was at UF. Last year he easily led the team with 70 tackles, averaging 9.5 a game. In his junior season he had 66 tackles to go along with an incredible three interceptions.
“One of the things I take away from my time at Findlay is ‘Win The Day’, added Quartey. “I have to just take all of this one day at a time and give it everything I have.”
Quartey said that the amount of fans he gets to play and practice in front of encourages him to be that much more competitive.
“I’ve never played in any kind of atmosphere that is even close to this,” said Quartey. “At Findlay I maybe played in front of 1,000 people at times, and here I go to practice and we have 6,000 fans here.”
When Quartey made his interception on Aug. 22 there were 62,295 fans in the stadium to watch it.
The success isn’t something that surprises the UF graduate though. Confidence is something that has never been lacking for Quartey and is a big reason he is having success at the next level.
“I knew I could play at this level all along,” said Quartey. “It didn’t take me making six tackles in a game, or making an interception for me to know that. The games are just more of a showcase for me to let other people know that I can play here.”
Now it will be up to the Cardinals to decide whether or not Quartey has done enough to earn a roster spot.
“I know some roster cuts are coming up but for right now he is hanging on to a spot,” added Findlay football head coach Rob Keys. “It’s a lot of fun to watch a guy like that at the next level who not only had success on the field here but also graduated in four years.”
The Arizona Cardinals final preseason game will take place Sept. 3 in Denver against the Broncos at 9 p.m. That will be the final preseason game for the Cardinals and they will then move onto the regular season.
The first regular season game for the Arizona Cardinals is Sunday, Sept. 13 at 4:05 p.m. against the New Orleans Saints.