- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
Marcell Harris (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) has been to Texas twice. He can’t wait to find out what trip No. 3 has in store for him.
The four-star ESPN 150 safety is excited to take his first official visit this weekend, a three-day stay in Austin, Texas, for the Longhorns’ season opener against Wyoming.
“I’m pretty sure it’s going to be off the chain,” Harris said. “I’ve heard the fans are crazy and the stadium is going to be rocking and rolling. Being out there and sitting in the stands is going to feel pretty good. That’s something I’ve always looked forward to.”
The nation’s No. 7 safety prospect is still strongly considering six schools: Texas, Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma, Clemson and South Carolina. He has yet to make any other official visits plans for after his trip to UT.
The Longhorns are in good shape going into the weekend. Harris grew up watching Texas games on TV, and he says there are aspects of his game he has tried to emulate from watching Michael Huff and Earl Thomas during their Texas heydays.
He likes the guy responsible for their success, too. Harris said he speaks with UT secondary coach Duane Akina every other week.
“Coach Akina is real cool, and he has a nice résumé of people he’s coached,” Harris said. “He’s a real cool, laid-back guy. He’s there to coach you and get 100 percent out of you. That’s the type of coach you’d want to be taught by.”
The 6-foot-1, 209-pound defensive back attended Texas’ summer camp in June 2011. In January, he drove up from San Antonio after participating in the U.S. Army Underclassmen Combine for a night of watching film of Texas’ defense.
He has seen the football offices and facilities. Now Harris wants to see everything else.
“I’m really looking to see what their campus is really like,” he said. “This will be my first time of actually seeing the campus and everything. It’s going to be a good one. It’s Labor Day weekend and people are going to be acting crazy.”
Harris is bringing his mother and father with him. He wants them to feel comfortable with Austin in case he ends up playing college ball away from Florida.
That’s why he’ll take most and perhaps all of his official visits to out-of-state schools. He’s not certain he’ll use officials visits on Florida and Florida State.
“I’m not in any rush. I could always go up there,” he said. “With the official visits, I’m looking for something that’s going to be different in my opinion.”
Harris said he’s “pretty sure” he’ll make plans to visit Oklahoma. Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops has been selling the safety on what OU has to offer.
“They’ve always been one of the top schools that competes every year,” Harris said. “You never see Oklahoma not doing good each season. They’ve always had a good defense and offense and everything. They’re a consistent program.”
Harris doesn’t know if he’ll need all five permitted official visits to make a decision. He said he could make a commitment at any moment if the school and the timing are right. But he does want to get a few free trips in first.
“I’m looking at deciding during the school year so I can get some of the official visits out of the way,” he said. “I’m looking at mid-season, as we get a couple weeks in, probably around that time.”
The Texas trip comes first. How much can the Longhorns help their chances of landing a pledge from the coveted safety with this visit?
Not much, he says. Harris already really likes Texas. He’s ready to find out just how much this weekend.
“They've helped themselves already. They’re Texas and they came to Florida to look at me,” he said. “They did enough. I mean, that’s a blessing for any player in the state of Florida.”