This Saturday, Darien Harris gets his turn to play Maryland, his home state school. Really, it is almost his hometown team as Harris’ home in Silver Springs, Md., is about 15 minutes from the College Park campus.
“It’s big to be out here and far away,” Harris said. “Everybody has been following me, my mom’s colleagues, my dad’s colleagues have been following me.
”They are excited for it and to actually be able to go to a game and see me in person. It should be a really fun experience.”
The junior linebacker played his high school football at DeMatha Catholic, a powerhouse program in Maryland. When it came to finding tickets for the game, demand was high.
“Everybody kind of bought their own,” he said. “We sent out a huge email to everybody saying you are responsible for your own because we can’t foot a 3,000 dollar bill for tickets. Everybody was on board, everyone was really excited and I’m looking forward to it.”
Harris the lone scholarship player from Maryland on the Spartans’ roster, with a pair of walk ons also on the team. It was a game he never could have seen coming when he committed to play at Michigan State, with Maryland playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference. When the news was announced that the Terrapins would be added to the Big Ten, he figured an opportunity was coming.
“I first checked the schedule to see where I was going to end up, whether they were coming here or not,” he said. “I’m excited to go there obviously. I knew I was going to get to play in front of a lot of people who haven’t been able to see me play in person before.”
Harris said his parents – who make it to every game – will be hosting a tailgate for the family, friends and colleagues coming to the game. It means he will be seeing plenty of people, including some he has not meant before.
”Just to know that I have that support system back home and that so many people care, that just means the world,” he said. “… I know my parents are super excited about it. You know parents love to show off their kids and they are getting an opportunity to do that.”