[Premium article] Kingsbury High School's LaRon Harris: A challenge to Memphis-Ridgeway High School's Willie Henderson as the top defensive lineman in the city of Memphis.

Most recruiting analysts, when you ask them who the top defensive lineman in Memphis is usually mention Memphis-Ridgeway High School's Willie Henderson. Willie, an outstanding defensive lineman who deserves all the press that he has garnered, now has serious competition for that illustrious honor.

Memphis, a hot-bed of recruiting activity this year, has another defensive lineman that is being heavily recruited by coaches and talked about by recruiting analysts and recruiting fanatics throughout the south. His name is LaRon Harris.

LaRon, a Memphis-Kingsbury High School student/athlete, weighs in at a solid 305 pounds on his 6-3 frame. Very likely one of the strongest linemen in the country with a bench press reported to be around 390 pounds and a squat of over 500 pounds, LaRon was selected as a PrepStar pre-season All-American as well as being picked as the 10th best player in Tennessee in the SuperPrep pre-season issue. Did I mention that he has been timed at 4.97 seconds in the forty-yard dash? Not bad accolades and numbers for a youngster who was erroneously overlooked by most recruiting publications prior to this season.

One of the things that you like about LaRon is his athleticism and ability to play so many different positions. According to LaRon, as far as what positions he has played on the defensive line, he told me that, "I've played all of them (tackle, noseguard and end)." Not only has he played every position on the D-line but he also told me that he has, "played linebacker." How would you like to be a fullback trying to block a 305-pound linebacker?

Even though he is a gifted athlete, the thing that makes LaRon even more highly thought of by so many coaches is the fact that he will have no problem qualifying, since he has a very good core grade point average and has already made a qualifying score on his ACT. "Overall, my gpa is 3.2 and my core classes are 2.8," said LaRon. "I made a 17 on my ACT." LaRon, an articulate youngster who appears to not be satisfied until he has done his absolute best, told me that, "I will take (my ACT) again because I feel I can do better than that." I bet he does, too.

With so much going for him, many coaches are proving to be very serious about LaRon. He told me that he has had or will have in-home visits with numerous coaches, including coaches from, "Auburn, Iowa, Illinois, Memphis, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi State (they set up one for next week)." He also mentioned several smaller schools that were calling him but the aforementioned D-I schools are the ones showing the most interest and the ones he is most interested in.

Although LaRon has seven impressive D-I schools showing serious interest in him and wanting him to take an official visit, he is allowed just five official visits, according to NCAA rules. That is proving to be a problem for LaRon because he likes all seven of the schools and two will have to be left out.

The burning question is who are the unlucky two that will be left out?

According to LaRon, he will visit, "Alabama (Dec. 7-9), Memphis (Dec. 14-16), Tennessee (Jan. 11-13), Auburn (Jan. 17-19) and Illinois (Jan. 25-27)." That leaves Mississippi State and Iowa on the outside looking in.

And LaRon doesn't particularly like that fact. He told me that, "I wish I had left (a visit) open for the colleges that come by and that I am interested in, colleges like Mississippi State and Iowa. Mississippi State is one that I would like to visit and Iowa is one that I would like to visit but I'm booked. I don't really know what to do about that."

That may not be the end of it for Mississippi State and Iowa because LaRon said there is a chance that he will consider taking an unofficial visit. Plus, he has already had one scheduled official visit that he didn't take, his Arkansas visit. There is always the chance that could happen with one of the other schools, although LaRon didn't indicate that when talking to him.

With LaRon being booked Mississippi State may have made a strategic mistake by waiting until they met him face-to-face before lining up an official visit but MSU's Coach Lewis explained the reasoning to LaRon. LaRon stated that when, "their coach (Terry Lewis) came by, he said he would rather come by and look a player in the face than talk to them on the phone. That is why he hasn't been calling."

Although LaRon noted that Coach Lewis appeared to be disappointed when he was told that he had all of his visits set, LaRon said, "I understood where he was coming from." LaRon was disappointed as well because he told me that, "I liked (Coach Lewis) him a lot. He had a lot to say about Mississippi State."

One now wonders what will happen, will Mississippi State catch a break and somehow receive a visit from the very talented LaRon Harris or will they continue to be the odd man out? Only time will tell.

Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at

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