Tigers get early jump on N.C. wideout

CHARLOTTE — Clemson University did not waste any time jumping on the services of a future North Carolina prep star from the Greensboro area.

While attending a Clemson football camp last summer with his cousin and four-star prospect Keenan Allen, the Clemson coaching staff extended Maurice Harris his first scholarship offer. It was a move that Harris proved to be worthy of when he caught 12 touchdown passes and totaled 17 as a sophomore at Northern Guilford High School last fall.

Since then, he claims North Carolina, Duke and Maryland have followed Clemson's lead.

"That gives (Clemson) a big jump on everyone else," Harris said. "It is still early so I'm going to wait it out. Coach Jeff Scott and Billy Napier have been keeping in touch with me."

Scott and Napier have stayed in touch through writing, as they have sent several letters to the 6-foot-2, 191-pound athlete who will be a member of the class of 2011. Harris is being recruited as a wide receiver.

"I'm athletic," he said. "I like to jump over people and go up and get jump balls. I like to make plays."

But Harris knows he needs to improve, especially on his speed. Though he doesn't classify himself as a burner, he would like to improve on the 4.97 40-yard dash time he ran at the Scout.com/Fox Sports Combine in Charlotte, which keep in mind was run on grass.

His best time during the combine season, he says, has been a 4.7.

"I need to improve, but I'm going to just try and get faster and stronger and do my best in the one-on-one," Harris said.

Harris said the combines, the unofficial trips and junior days have really opened his eyes to how crazy and demanding the world of recruiting really is.

"I have never been to any combines really until these last couple of months and there have been some different experiences," he said. "I'm just catching on and seeing how things are.

"I didn't know it could be like this, but now I see that it's real serious."

Harris likes the combines because they have given him an idea of which areas he needs to improve on in order to be successful at the college level.

"I just want to go up against the best so I know what I'm up against when I go to college," he said. "I just come out here and do my best and whatever happens, happens."

Besides being at Clemson for camp, Harris has visited North Carolina and really likes their coaching staff and the campus. He has also been to Duke and was really impressed by head coach David Cutcliffe while visiting the Durham school.

He says Maryland showed him a lot of interest when he visited, and he likes the size of the campus. Harris plans to visit Clemson when school lets out in the next month or so and will then attend one of the Clemson football camps later in June as well.

Clemson appears to really be strong with Harris and he said it doesn't hurt that the guy who offered him the scholarship last year — Dabo Swinney — is now the team's head coach.

"That will give me an advantage, I hope. That will give me a big advantage to try and go down there and maybe start my freshman year, if I do decided to go there," Harris said.

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