- If you missed part one of this feature, click here.
Among the many recruiting pitches being fielded by Damien Harris these days, some of the best ones are coming from his fellow prospects. Hardly a day goes by without some sort of correspondence with another talented recruit about the possibility of attending the same school.
“There are a few,” Harris said regarding possible teammates. “I’ve talked to Torrance Gibson a lot. I would love to play with him. He’s a heck of a player. He’s a great quarterback. I just felt like we could be a great fit for each other. I’ve talked to the linebacker Justin Hilliard. I’ve talked to him. I’ve talked to Matthew Burrell, offensive lineman. I’ve talked to Jacques Patrick. Of course George Campbell. We both were committed to Michigan together. We both ended up decommitting. We still talk every now and then about what schools that we’re interested in, compare and contrast all these type of things. I would definitely love to play with some of these guys and try to build championship caliber team. Just build a great bond with these guys.”
One of the newest player/recruiters he has begun connecting with is Michigan quarterback commitment Alex Malzone.
“I actually talked to him last night and this morning because I thought he was going to be here, but he told me he is not. He told me that he’ll be going to the Elite 11 camp, hopefully, out in Oregon in ties with The Opening. Hopefully I’ll get to go and be invited and we’ll be up there together. We’ve just talked about me getting back up on campus, visiting at the same time so that we can start to develop a relationship between us. Because just as much as you got to get to know these coaches, you’ve got to get to know the players and recruits too. That’s a pretty vital part of this whole entire process. We’ve communicated. We’ve started to kind of build a relationship, friendship and we’ll just see where that goes.”
Now that Malzone has indeed been selected to participate in The Opening, the two will have the aforementioned opportunity to get to know one another better. They may also have that chance during an unofficial visit to Ann Arbor.
“I definitely plan to try and get up there this summer,” said Harris. “I talked to Coach Nussmeier about that a couple of days ago. I’ve just got to sit down with my mom and see what my high school schedule is before I decide any college visits or anything. What people seem to forget is that I’m still in high school and I still have a team to worry about. I still have to worry about getting better as a player before I can make it to the next level. So I just got to take all those things into thought and then after that comes college visits and deciding where I want to go and visit.”
Before he can get serious about his visits he must first cut his list of suitors to a more manageable number.
“(I’ll) probably it narrow it down to eight like I said at the end of this week and maybe at the end of the summer narrow it down to those five and take those five officials and see what I can do at those five schools.”
If Harris already knows a few of his official visit destinations he isn’t sharing those plans publicly. That much was clear when he was asked whether Michigan was still among his definite stops.
“I don’t know, I guess we’ll just have to see,” he responded coyly. “I’m open to a lot of schools right now. So I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how things go over the next couple of months.”
Another major consideration is the timing of his decision. Harris’ once firm timeline is now up in the air.
“At first, I thought about what until national signing day, then I thought about the All-American game, but I just haven’t really sat down and thought of a day,” Harris stated. “I’ll probably end up talking to my mom and seeing what she things about it and see what we decide.”
All he is certain of at the moment are the factors that will ultimately determine his choice.
“Obviously great football history and tradition that is first and foremost,” said Harris. “You can’t go to a school with no great history. That is a major part of what you want to add on. You want to be a part of that main legacy. The school is built before. Just a great family feel for the coaches. You have to trust that the coaches will develop you not only as a player, but as a person growing up. As a student, encouraging you to be the best person you can be and not just a great football player. Just that family feel that I’m coming into a brotherhood. We’ve all got the same goals. We’re all putting in all our effort to become closer and hopefully win championships. Just a great education… that is the most important thing. At some point, football has got to end. So you’ve got something to fall back on, a degree that is worth something. So those are the key things that are important to me.”
One thing that isn’t important is the distinction of being the only running back in a recruiting class.
“I don’t mind playing with another back in my class,” Harris insisted. “That doesn’t bother me at all. People thing just because I’m a running back I don’t want to play with anybody else. It is competition and competition only makes you better and makes your teammates better. Whatever is best for the offense, for the team that were playing for. If a two back offense is required, I don’t have any problem playing with me and somebody else. If it is a one back offense, at the same time, I don’t mind being the only back in my class either. It really doesn’t bother me either way.”
To view part two of our video interview with Damien Harris in its entirety, press play below.