Sometimes it takes a coach a whole season to figure out what he really has.
As a sophomore in 2009, Mesquite Horn's De'Vante Harris was tearing up junior varsity as a wide out. With 52 catches for nearly 800 yards and nine touchdowns, the 2012 prospect was expected to be a big impact player on the offensive side of the ball next season.
As the JV team's season came to an end and the varsity squad headed into the playoffs, Mequite Horn head coach Rodney Webb looked to give Iowa commitment Jacorey Shepherd some different looks at cornerback. Needing an athletic down-field defender, Webb asked Harris to jump in. He did more than just become a practice body.
"We battled every rep, every play," said Harris. "We got the best of each other. With him being such a great receiver and me being an athletic corner, it gave me valuable experience and gave him some top tier competition."
After more than handling his own with a D-1 receiver, it was decided by the Mequite Horn coaching staff that Harris would play corner in their first round playoff game against Belton. The Jaguars lost, but Harris didn't allow a pass to go his way. Not only was a playoff game a great experience for the sophomore, but it showed his coaches and colleges that the secondary might be for him at the next level.
"There was some pressure for sure, but man it was fun and a learning experience," said Harris.
"I loved playing corner. I like it more than receiver," said Harris. "I love owning the competition. That is the type of player I am. It's what I do best."
While expected to still remain on offense in 2010, Harris full transition to cornerback will be what college scouts evaluate in the coming months. He was a strong asset to the Horn secondary during the 7-on-7 tournaments this summer.
"With a few D-1 recruit shutdowns, my confidence against any receiver is through the roof right now after 7-on-7s," said Harris. "I just need to carry it into the regular season."
So what does Harris know about the Hawkeyes?
"I'm hearing from them, but not like my friends JaCorey Shepherd or Austin Vincent. I know that Coach (Erik) Campbell is a real cool dude and that Austin really likes it," said Harris. "I really want a school with a family type atmosphere, great educational program and a winning tradition."