HYATTSVILLE, Md. -- DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) played host to Archbishop Carroll (Washington, D.C.) at the PG Sports and Learning Complex in Hyattsville Nov. 8, and the playoff-bound Stags emerged with a 40-12 victory. Terrapin Times was on hand to scout and interview class of 2016 Maryland commitment Lorenzo Harrison, who averaged five yards per carry and scored two touchdowns. Check out what Harrison had to say in the article below, followed by a detailed scouting report.
DeMatha running back LoLo Harrison has only played in six games this year due to an elbow injury, but he’s made the most of the action he has seen. The 5-foot-8, 187-pound junior, who was injured in the first quarter of DeMatha’s season opener, has had at least 100 yards in every game he’s started (five games), and said he’s playing his best ball yet.
“It was hard sitting out, but I’m doing pretty well now that I’m back in there. The game is kind of like natural to me, and I feel like I understand the offense more and I know more about the offensive line and how they’re blocking,” said Harrison, a Maryland commitment. “I feel like I’m reading my blocks well, hitting the holes and just running well in general. I can always do better, but I feel like I’ve improved since last year.”
Harrison is most concerned with leading his team to another Washington Conference Athletic Conference title, but the Terps pledge has certainly done his part to hype the hometown Terps. Harrison committed to UMD back in late summer, and since then he’s been trying to lure in his teammates and numerous other area recruits he’s friends with.
“I’ve been in guys’ ears a lot. I’ve been saying things to Tino [Ellis], Squeal [Terrance Davis], and also guys like Shane [Simmons] and J.P. [Urquidez], just trying to get them to see what’s happening at Maryland,” Harrison said. “Sometimes it’s just joking around, and sometimes it’s serious, but mostly we’re just joking. I’ll be like, ‘Come on guys, it’s time to show out for the hometown.’ You know, things like that.”
And their respective responses?
“Well, I know Tino is really high on Maryland, and I know Terrance likes them a lot too,” Harrison said. “I don’t know about Shane and J.P. I’m trying to flip Shane (a Penn State commit), but we’ll see (laughs).”
Harrison’s efforts haven’t been limited to his current teammates. He’s also been talking to Avalon (Bethesda, Md.) athlete Trevon Diggs, Bullis (Potomac, Md.) quarterback Dwayne Haskins, Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) defensive tackle Ellison Jordan and other elite local 2016 recruits.
“I keep telling them if we get all these top local guys to say home, we can start something special at Maryland. I’m telling them [the Terps] can be a top team if everyone from around here stayed home,” Harrison said. “And I do think they like Maryland, but they’re basically saying it’s just their junior year and it’s early for them. They want to go through the whole process.
“But I keep telling them that we can change the whole culture at Maryland if we stay home, and that we can win big. I tell them you don’t have to go away to win – it can happen here. But everyone needs to buy in.”
The DeMatha running back has attended two Maryland home games this year, when the Terps took on West Virginia and Ohio State. He plans to be at the Nov. 15 showdown between UMD and Michigan State.
Harrison was unable to make it up to State College, Pa., for the Maryland-Penn State bout, but he watched most of the 20-19 Terps’ victory on TV.
“It was a real big win for us. I saw most it, and I think Maryland did really good coming out with a win in that environment,” Harrison said. “The offense had some struggles with incomplete passes and things, but the defense played well and got it done. It was a big road win for Maryland, and hopefully that helps convince some guys that you can win big here [in College Park].”
The DeMatha running back has remained in close contact with area recruiter Mike Locksley. He said they communicate on Twitter often enough, and Maryland’s offensive coordinator continues to tell Harrison to keep working hard and to develop his game.
“I have a great relationship with Coach Locksley. I’m 100 percent sold on Maryland,” Harrison said. “I really believe Maryland is moving in the right direction, and I think the program can be a contender in the Big Ten as long as they keep doing what they’re doing. Coach [Randy] Edsall is doing a great job.”
Harrison may only be 5-8, but he’s a well-built specimen with a strong base and thick legs. He’s a small target, meaning his strike area is limited to begin with, but Harrison makes himself even more difficult to wrap up because he keeps his pads low. On top of that, he has a knack for “getting skinny” in the holes. He has the deft footwork needed to slide through small gaps, and the cutback ability to quickly change direction.
Moreover, Harrison’s a juker and a dancer, a shifty customer who’s adept at sidestepping defenders both in space and between the tackles. The latter is one of the main qualities that make Harrison special. While many smaller backs can’t take a consistent pounding in the gaps, Harrison’s footwork, combined with his powerful base and leg drive, allow him to grind in the trenches and even push the pile at times. He’s not an easy guy to wrap up, and he’ll typically bust through arm tackles.
Harrison’s field vision is advanced for a high school running back. He has that keen sense of where the holes will open, and displays plenty of patience and poise before bursting upfield (in other words, he doesn’t run up his offensive linemen’s backs). And when the gaps do open, Harrison darts to daylight, either using a one-cut-and-go move between the tackles or bouncing it outside. What’s particularly impressive here is Harrison doesn’t seem to lose much speed after he cuts or dekes. In fact, he’s typically able to accelerate and gain momentum, a sign of that all-important start-stop speed.
Harrison also looks to possess soft hands and seems to be a natural pass catcher out of the backfield. He does well taking a throw in stride and then heading straight downfield. Again, once he gets into space, he has the elusiveness to make linebackers whiff and the speed to run right by the defense’s first two levels.
To take his game up a notch, we’d like to see Harrison develop even more downfield acceleration. While he has good speed, he’s not quite a home-run hitter who can pull away from safeties and corners. It would also behoove him to become even more decisive with his decision making. Sometimes he’ll get caught dancing in the backfield instead of heading downhill. Harrison has to hit those holes even harder, and then use that leg power to pop out the backside of a pile.
Harrison could stand to improve his pass blocking as well. He’s not exactly lacking in this area, but he can be a little tentative with his blitz pickup. Finally, in order to expand his game and become an even more versatile threat, Harrison can work on his route running, becoming even more refined with his footwork when he’s in the slot.
Harrison Hyping Terps; Plus Scouting Report
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