Linebacker prospect visits BYU

He was named the top linebacker at BYU's camp during his sophomore year. On Friday, the first-team all-region linebacker who recorded 105 tackles as a sophomore and 88 tackles, four sacks and one interception as a junior year paid a visit to BYU.

On Friday, Gunnison High School linebacker Braden Harris made an unofficial visit to Utah State. On the way back, he stopped by BYU's football offices.

"I went and spoke with Coach Tidwell, and he wanted me to stop by, and we were just talking about football," said Harris. "We sat down and visited and talked about everything from football to academics. I'm pretty close to Coach Tidwell and we talk by email weekly and stuff. We've become pretty good friends and he's a great guy and I like him a lot."

From 1988 to 1994, Tidwell was the head coach of Snow College in Ephraim, located about a half hour from Gunnison. During that time, he coached Yori Ludvigson, who is now the head coach of Harris and his Gunnison team.

"It's kind of funny how things work sometimes and how things are connected like that," said Harris.

However, it wasn't through Ludvigson that Tidwell and BYU first learned of Harris.

"My freshman year going into my sophomore year I went up to [BYU's] camp," Harris said. "I did really well and got the freshman-sophomore age group overall linebacker MVP there."

Harris has also been to Utah's camp.

"Utah wanted me to call them yesterday, so I called talked to them for about 10 minutes before I got to Utah State. So, I've been there and Utah State and I'll probably go up to Boise State and Oregon too. They want me to come down."

As he visits these campuses, Harris is looking at what the colleges have to offer.

"I'm looking at the academics, and that's big for me," he said. "Also, a winning tradition and overall feel of the campus and their standards."

Having been to BYU's campus, Harris had nothing but good things to say about the experience.

"Oh, I love it up there," he said. "I love how you're treated and the standards of the place. BYU is probably my top choice if I go anywhere. They were probably the first school that recruited me and I really like Coach Tidwell a lot.

"It would be hard not to go there if I was fortunate enough to get a scholarship to go there. It's good to be at a place with really high standards. I don't want to go to a school where there would be a lot of distractions. I just want to go play some football."

BYU's coaches reportedly like what they see in Harris.

"Yeah, Coach Tidwell said that him and Coach Mendenhall really like me," Harris said. "Coach Poppinga wants to see me in person to see what I can do in practice to make sure before they offer me."

If Harris can have another BYU camp performance like the one where he was named the MVP, he could receive an offer.

"The coaches want me to come up on Junior Day and for camp," he said. "Coach Tidwell said if I have a good Junior Day at camp, that I'll most likely get offered."

At 6 feet 3 inches and 223 pounds, Harris is being looked at as an outside linebacker prospect for BYU.

"I squat around 430 and bench around 315 and I run around a 4.7 forty time. I work hard and lift hard and sent out my film and got some pretty good responses."

A few weeks ago, Harris was down in Southern California visiting the Trojans of USC.

"It was awesome down there and it was for a Junior Day visit. I liked the architecture of the buildings and how everything is right there. You don't even need a car to go anywhere because everything is right on campus. We took a tour of the campus and talked with the coaches. They have another camp coming up that's more on the athletic side."

Going from small farming communities of Gunnison, Utah to the hustle of inner city Los Angeles would be quite the change.

"Yeah, I would rather stay in Utah," Harris said. "If Oregon or somebody like them offered me it would be really tempting to go out there."

The Ducks have been showing interest in Harris.

"They call my coach probably weekly and email probably weekly," Harris said. "They want me to come out and said they loved my film. I play for a small-town, school so they want to see how I match up against everybody else once I go to camp."

Harris is LDS and has expressed a desire to serve a mission, so any college seeking his services will be aware of that desire.

"I plan on serving a mission once high school is over. I'll go straight out."

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