When Mesa (Ariz.) prospect Jalen Harris is reevaluated, he will likely stand as one of the better athletes in the 2017 class.
Currently, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Harris is regarded as one of Arizona’s top receivers, including the 25th-best in the west. Most schools, however, see his frame eventually translating elsewhere, offering him as a hybrid defensive end.
That includes Iowa State, which received an unofficial visit last weekend.
“It’s a great school [and] a developing program. They just got new coaches this year, so they’re ready to turn the program around and they seemed really interested in me, so I wanted to see what they were really talking about,” Harris said. “It was a nice place. They made me seem like I was really wanted there and that’s a place I could fit.”
Harris holds offers from in-state programs Arizona and Arizona State as well as a number of other Power 5 programs including Illinois, Washington State and Oregon State in addition to the Cyclones. He had previously visited Colorado State, Arizona and Arizona State before his Iowa State trip last weekend.
Iowa State in particular sees Harris as more than just a lineman. The Cyclones would like to use Harris as a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker at its Leo position, one which the staff put multiple players in the NFL with at Toledo.
“They told me they like the way I get off the edge and that I’m a good athlete and they think I can be a good player at the next level. Most [schools] have me at defensive end/outside linebacker, so I’m mostly a defensive player,” Harris said. “I think it would be a great fit. It would be a good opportunity to be able to show my skill and versatility.”
Harris had success at the defensive end position in 2015 as a junior, recording 43 tackles (17 1/2 sacks), three pass deflections and three forced fumbles for Desert Ridge High School. He also caught 50 passes for 757 yards and five touchdowns.
The main point of contact for Harris has been Iowa State graduate assistant Taylor Mouser while head coach Matt Campbell has been in weekly contact. The weekend trip allowed Campbell and Harris to finally talk face-to-face.
“He was talking about how he recruits high character kids and kids with good grades and good attitudes and have the effort and want to win and want to be good football players,” Harris said. “I talk to him quite a bit. He makes sure that I know that I’m wanted there at Iowa State and I’ll be a great fit in their program.”
USC, Oregon and Michigan are among schools showing recent interest, and Harris will take a trip to Washington State on June 4. There are currently no other visit plans set and no timeline, though he’d like to decide before the season.