Mesa Desert Ridge athlete Jalen Harris is one of the top 2017 prospects in Arizona. His breakout performance last year was a major reason behind the Jaguars' run to the Division I state championship game.
The 6-foot-3 205-pounder is a good looking prospect who played well on both sides of the ball. On offense he played receiver and finished the year with 50 receptions for 757 yards and five touchdowns. On defense he dominated at times as a pass rushing end, finishing with 17.5 sacks to go with 70 tackles and three forced fumbles.
Harris has a self-reported GPA of 3.6 and both of his parents were college athletes. His father Sean Harris is one of the top linebackers in University of the Arizona’s history. Harris, a two-time first-team All-Pac-10 player, played six season for the Chicago Bears after being selected in the third round of the 1995 NFL draft.
Despite the production, academics, and bloodlines, the younger Harris has yet to receive a scholarship offer. A few schools have shown interest, and Arizona State is the only program Harris said he has spoken with so far.
“[The ASU assistant] said to keep working hard and said that he and the entire coaching staff will be watching and checking in on me during the season," Harris said.
Harris said he has received correspondence from Arizona, Michigan State, Oregon, Oregon State and Wyoming.
With two parents who played sports at Arizona, ASU fans might assume the Sun Devils wouldn't have a great shot but Harris said otherwise.
“Absolutely ASU would be an option if they offered,” Harris said. “My parents’ careers were their own. They support the Wildcats but when it's all said and done, I may end up turning the whole family into ASU supporters.
“I love ASU’s facilities, it's a beautiful campus and the option to stay close to home is very inviting.”
Having a parent who was a college athlete is a great resource to any potential recruit and Harris and his father have talked about recruiting.
“He told me recruiting is a long process,” Harris said. “You have to take in all the information and make the best selection for you. He also said that when you have your grades in order you can basically choose any institution that shows interest.”
Sean Harris was listed at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds when he played. Jalen thinks he could still be growing.
“I'm really not sure [how big I will get],” Harris said. “My pediatrician said that I would grow to at least 6-foot-6. I was recently told that my growth plates are still wide open. I'm excited about the possibilities. If I could guess, I would say 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds.”
Even if Harris didn’t get much taller he has a good frame to play wide receiver, outside linebacker or a hybrid defensive end position in college. If he gets much bigger, tight end would seemingly make a lot of sense. His film shows he has good quickness and get off at the line of scrimmage. If he continues to add strength and improve his technique he can be a productive edge rusher or full service tight end at the next level.