Question: What does Erique bring to the table as a defensive back and what is Auburn getting?
Harper: "As a defensive back they're getting a great player. He loves to hit, he loves contact and he knows the game. He played safety for me and he really runs the defense for me. He makes the checks. He puts everybody in place. If we've got a blitz or if somebody's got to go he makes the hot call for him and let them know they've got to go and he'll cover up for them. He's just a great player and a great person. I've known him for a long time, and he got on the team as a ninth grader. It's very hard to be on the varsity squad as a ninth grader. We were just going to bring him along in case anybody got injured and put him in. We were playing a game and I got real frustrated with some of the players that were player and I told him, ‘Go in A (Erique).' He went in and made a big hit and an interception for a touchdown. The rest is history. Auburn is getting a great man, a great player and a great family. He's overall a great player."
Question: Playing quarterback this year, how much safety did he actually play?
Harper: "He didn't get a chance to play enough safety this year to make a difference. He played quarterback and did an excellent job. I can't tell you his stats but he should have had over 1,000 yards rushing and probably 1,000 yards passing. In previous years he played receiver for us. He played running back, punt returner, kick returner. I'm happy for him and happy for his family just like one of my sons when he signed. I'm really happy for him."
Question: I've seen him play a number of times over the years and it seems like any time the ball carrier is in his area he makes the tackle. What do you think his greatest quality is as a safety?
Harper: "I think he's a big hitter. He loves contact. I played safety in college, and the best thing you can have at safety is a sure tackler like you said. He does that. He loves to wrap up. He's got good feet and he loves contact. Sometimes we have to hold him back in practice because most of the athletes he's playing against are not D-I athletes. He's just an overall great athlete. He plays basketball for me also. He's a great basketball player also. Guys come across half court and just throw it up, and he'll just go and get it. Auburn is getting a great safety, and I hope he can go in and contribute to the team early. I think that played a part in his decision also."
Question: In recruiting, one of the hardest things to find is a hard-hitting safety that can also cover really well. Does he have the coverage ability?
Harper: "I'm glad you asked that. As a ninth grader he started at corner. We had a couple of other athletes that were not as good as he was, but on the verge. So we put him at corner. Having a corner that can cover and can come up and support the run is a great asset. He was that. He's got great hips, great cover speed, and he could have probably played corner. I think that's what USC recruited him as."
Question: Auburn's got one safety spot that looks like will be open for a young guy to play there this fall. What does Erique have to do to improve between now and August to possibly compete for playing time?
Harper: "He's got the athletic ability and he can hit. Now he's got to go out-work somebody. He's got to get in the weight room, learn their system, get his foot speed better. I tell him he's got to go get better. There are a lot of athletes that are being recruited that have the same ability as he has. He's got to out out-work them."