Monday, July 8, 2013
ESPN 300 QB Harris picks final three
By Gary Laney
For ESPN 300 quarterback Brandon Harris (Bossier City, La./Parkway), an offseason that saw him rise from a relative unknown to one of the nation's top dual-threat quarterbacks will come to an end July 18 when he announces what college he is committing to.
While interest in Harris steadily rose through impressive camp performances that are reflected in his increased stock in recruiting rankings (Harris is ranked No. 48 in the ESPN 300 after not being in the initial ESPN 150), Harris, on the other hand, has narrowed his own focus.
On Monday, he announced that the final three schools he's considering are LSU, Ohio State and Auburn. He'll pick which one he'll attend at 2 p.m. on July 18 at Parkway High School.
That list is whittled down from the seven he said he was considering after his high school's spring game in May. Texas A&M, Alabama, Baylor and Ole Miss were also on that list. Here's why Harris said his final three made the cut:
- Ohio State: "Urban Meyer. And their ability to develop quarterbacks."
- LSU: "A top 10 program every year."
- Auburn: "Same thing (as Ohio State). Gus Malzahn and his ability to develop quarterbacks."
Harris said his three finalists were "all tied." He said he'll visit Auburn on Wednesday to complete his recruiting trips.
Both LSU and Auburn are looking for their first quarterback of the recruiting class. Ohio State already has a commitment from three-star prospect Stephen Collier (Leeburg, Ga./Lee County). Some assume that because Harris dropped Texas A&M and Alabama off his list after they received commitments from other quarterbacks, then Ohio State might be eliminated too for the same reason.
Not so, said Harris, who has said Alabama and Texas A&M were only taking one quarterback in their respective classes.
"I did a radio interview with ESPN radio (in Baton Rouge) and that was a huge point of emphasis," Harris said. "I am not afraid of competition.
"Last year, LSU took two great quarterbacks in Hayden Rettig and Anthony Jennings. Auburn took a quarterback (Jeremy Johnson) who went to the Elite 11 finals," Harris noted. "I would have to compete with them and I'm not afraid to do that. To me, that's what makes you better."
He said he expects to start competing almost as soon as his high school career is over. Harris plans on graduating early and enrolling in the spring.
His spring and summer haven't been just about getting his name out. Harris -- listed at 6-foot-2, 186 pounds -- said he has gained 25 pounds since starting the camp circuit and currently is over the 200-pound mark. That, he said, resolves the biggest perceived physical issue with him.
As a first-year starter for the Panthers, a Class 5A quarterfinalist in Louisiana, Harris passed for 2,677 yards and rushed for 677 more. But he was perceived as being on the slight side. Few questioned his arm, elusiveness (he's been timed at 4.64 in the 40-yard dash) or confidence.
One factor that may work in LSU's favor is the potential opportunity to throw to an elite class of receivers coming out of Louisiana. ESPN 300 receiver Trey Quinn (Lake Charles, La./Barbe), the nation's No. 3-ranked receiving prospect, plays for the team that eliminated Harris' team in the playoffs and Quinn scored four touchdowns despite what Harris said were constant double- and triple-teams.
Harris has yet to play with or against the nation's No. 2 receiver, Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis), or the nation's No. 1-ranked athlete, Speedy Noil (New Orleans/Karr), but he said he recognizes the potential of those three stepping on the field together, though currently all three are uncommitted.
"If you have Malachi and Trey outside and Speedy Noil in the slot or Trey and the slot -- however you want to put them -- then a defense is going to be in a world of what they don't want," Harris said.
Does Harris see himself as the one throwing those passes?
We'll find out July 18.