Marlandez Harris A Springfield Standout

It is a rare feat to win a state championship as a high school football player. Only a select few are able to achieve that success. And yet Marlandez Harris and his Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin team have won two in his three years in high school. That success has garnered attention from the Illini.

Sacred Heart Griffin capped off an unforgettable run through the state playoffs with a state title at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois, last fall.

"Last year we were 13-1 and won the 6A state championship," Marlandez Harris explains. "We had a real good team this year. Next year we could be just as good. We return four of our offensive linemen as well as three other players on that side of the ball. Defensively, we return our four defensive linemen. However, we lose our top wide receiver and a running back."

Individually, Marlandez makes his presence felt on both sides of the ball.

"On the offensive line, I thought it was the best I've ever done in high school and in my life. On the defensive line, I played both defensive end and defensive tackle. I had about 76 tackles and 8 or 9 sacks. I will start both ways again next year."

The 6'-4", 265 pound lineman is only being recruited to play on one side of the ball.

"I'm being recruited as an offensive guard. I think my technique and the initial contact I deliver are the best parts of my game. I do need to work on my footwork to get better."

His talents have drawn numerous suitors.

"Illinois, Purdue, Michigan State, Vanderbilt, Iowa, Iowa State, Wisconsin, and Northern Illinois are after me. I definitely grew up a fan of Illinois."

Would Marlandez like to stay close to home or is he looking for the best fit?

"I would say it is a combination of both. If I could fit well at one of the schools in the Midwest, I would like to stay in the Midwest. If I got an offer from Pac-10 and I found myself liking it there better, then I would go there."

Harris has certainly had a busy spring.

"I've been to Iowa, Vanderbilt, and Northern Illinois for junior days. I'm going to Illinois on April 18th."

Marlandez saw what the stadium looked like before the renovations and came away impressed last fall after the renovations were completed.

"I think it's pretty sweet. I remember when we won the state championship my freshman year they had a bunch of renovations going on at the stadium. I thought the upgrades were pretty cool. And this year when I was there I got to meet my recruiting coach, Ron Zook, and the offensive line coach."

Marlandez will take the ACT in April and reports a 2.63 GPA.

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