Madre Harper, an early enrollee sophomore last season out of Arlington, Texas is a fast-developing young corner who saw a ton of playing time last year on special teams. And with the switch of Ramon Richards to safety, he should be seeing more of the field in terms of defense as well.
One of the main advantages that Harper has over the other sophomores, is that this is his second spring. And according the Head Coach, that makes a big difference.
“No question. It gets him a little bit further ahead of Rodarius (Williams) and AJ (Green), just because he’s been here an extra spring.” said Gundy, “But all three of those guys are long and rangy and they’re gonna be pretty big for corners.”. Harper and Green are both 6-1 sophomores, while Williams is a 6-foot redshirt freshman. And Gundy’s right. Those are some ‘long and rangy’ and ‘pretty big’ corners considering the national average for corners range from 5-9 to 5-11.
And Madre’s seeing the advantages as well.
“Of course. The benefit of being in the weight room, getting stronger, getting bigger and faster and also having the experience from the season.” said Harper, “You know, going in there and playing special teams and stuff and just coming back this year and just having all that experience underneath my belt and a lot of reps for me. You know since Ramon (Richards) moved to safety, and you know, just a lot of opportunities for us to be making plays.”.
And even though Ramon’s moved over to safety, he’s still been there for the young corners for advice and wisdom, “Very influential. He’s been kind of like a big brother for us cause you know he’s been the most experienced out of the group. said Harper, “And since he did move to safety, he’s kind of lacking that. But he’s still here telling us every day we need to keep putting it on the field, grow up as a group and this is our season.”.
The special teams action that Madre saw as a freshman can be largely contributed to the fact that he’s a very aggressive playmaker. In fact, in his first career game, the first time he touched the ball, it was a recovered muffed punt against Southeastern Louisiana in the end zone to score a touchdown.
“I didn’t know who it was cause it was on the other side of the field from me.” said Coach Gundy, “And then I saw him come off and I thought the same thing you did, that it was pretty amazing that the first time you ever touch a ball at this level, much less being a true freshman, you score a touchdown. And being a defensive player.”
“At first, I didn’t even know I scored to be honest.” said Harper, “I kind of just looked around, I was like ‘Oh. I’m in the end zone.’. And that really surprised me. It was a great start to my career and you know, I wish I could get on the field more. And you know, that’s why this year, we’re trying to push and get on the field, and you know, trying to start this season.”.
And he’s bound to see the field more. Whether it be from the start of the season, or midway through. He recorded 8 total tackles last season on special teams as a true freshman, and couple that with the aggressiveness that Harper shows day in and day out at practice, it’ll only be a matter of time.
“When you just play hard and run to the ball and give 100 percent effort all the time, you’re going to find yourself just making plays.” stated Harper, “I know I’m a playmaker, and I’m going to give 100 percent effort every play I do.”.