BLOOMINGTON - Rocky Harvey, who has rushed for over 1,700 yards the last two seasons for Fort Wayne in United Indoor Football, has signed a contract to play for the Bloomington Extreme during the 2007 season.
The former University of Illinois standout was among six players Extreme coach Ted Schmitz signed over the weekend. Others signing contracts for the upcoming season are returnees Glenn Johnson, Dwayne Smith and Quince Holman along with newcomers Shatone Powers and James Walton.
Harvey finished third in the league last year in rushing despite missing six games with a high ankle sprain injury. He rushed for 633 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also passed for another four touchdowns from his running back position.
"We felt we needed to upgrade our run game and I don't think there is anybody any better to do that than Rocky Harvey," said Schmitz, whose team was 5-10 in its inaugural season in 2006.
"Rocky is a great break-back runner as he proved against us last year. But he's also a good inside runner. In this league, he is just as effective in the outside zone as he is in the inside zone. He had a lot of success at Fort Wayne running toss and sweep plays. He's also a good blocker for pass protection as well as a good receiver out of the backfield."
Harvey rushed for 1,095 yards to rank second in the league in 2005. He also scored 33 touchdowns.
"This has been a decision in the making," said Harvey, who ranks fifth in career rushing at Illinois with 2,711 yards from 1998-2001. "It was something I was thinking about last year when Glenn (Johnson) left Fort Wayne. He was talking to me about going with him.
"I played with a lot of the Extreme guys in college and at Fort Wayne. That makes the transition a lot easier. I think they have a very good team with a bright future."
How does Harvey classify his running style?
"I'm a real shifty runner with a lot of different moves who also has power," said Harvey. "I'm a person who tries to score a touchdown every time I get the ball."
Johnson was the leading receiver in the league last year until an injury sidelined him for the season after eight games. He had 42 receptions for 547 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Likewise, Smith's season ended after the ninth game because of injury. He had 41 receptions for 454 yards and 11 touchdowns.
"I'm looking forward to coming back to the Extreme," said Smith, who was a teammate of Harvey's at Illinois. "We have a lot of players coming back from last year, so we should be that much better with a year together under our belts.
"Signing Rocky is huge. We had a lot of good running backs, but Rocky is going to add a lot more speed. He's going to open up our running game. But he's also a powerful running back, who can pound away at you."
Walton comes to the Extreme from Evansville, where he caught six passes in two games for 44 yards. The 6-foot, 195-pound Powers played at Northern Illinois last year and finished his career with 95 receptions for 1,134 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Holman was a strong force at defensive end for the Extreme last year. He had 34 solo and 30 assisted tackles in eight games. Holman also had 20 tackles for loss for 56 yards.
Other Extreme players who have signed contracts to return for the 2007 season are kicker Peter Christofilakos, running back James Fuller, quarterbacks Dusty Burk and Brian–;McCaslin, defensive end Eric Johnson, linebackers Jason Hutton and Calvin Jones, defensive backs Dion Brown, Brian Colar, Lamar Baker and Sam Yeargin, wide receivers Patrick Hunter and Marcus Hayden, and center Mike Rudicil.
"We feel good about having so many players returning from last year," said Schmitz. "We feel like we have a strong core of returning players who know our system and how we operate as a staff.
"It seems the teams in the league that stay together from year to year are the most successful because they have so much stability."
Schmitz announced the signing of defensive backs Dorian Pitts, Kareem Burnes and Terrance Turner last month, bringing the Extreme's current roster to 23 players. Teams are allowed to take a maximum 45 players to training camp the first week of March.