Javon Harris is the Real Deal

Javon Harris, a 6-foot-0, 190-pound safety from Lawton MacArthur High School in Okla., never really saw himself playing at a school like the University of Oklahoma.

"Basically I sent out all of my film to a lot of other schools," Javon Harris began as he recanted his journey to Oklahoma.

"I never really thought about OU at first, but my coach told me to send my film up there. I sent it up and they called my coach back and had me call them. That is really how it started.

"When I called they told me they really liked my film. I talked to coach (Cale) Gundy at first and he told me he really liked my film and he was going to give it to coach (Bobby Jack) Wright. They then showed it to Coach Stoops and they pretty much told me they were going to offer."

Harris was taken aback by the news that he would have the opportunity to play for the Sooners.

He had grown up watching players like Roy Williams on TV, but he honestly never really expected to don the crimson and cream himself.

"The offer really came out of nowhere, because I never really thought I was going to get a big school offer," Harris admitted.

"The only offers I had were Kansas State, Tulsa, and Iowa State. I was thinking I was just going to probably have to go to a smaller Big 12 school. I almost did not even send them my film. I was going to be all right with Kansas State, but I am glad I did."

Harris got the news that OU would like to offer on April 1st and he found himself driving to Norman to tour the facilities and meet the coaches with his father on April 2nd.

"They had told me before I went that they were going to offer, but I thought I was just going up there to get a tour," Harris recalled. "I really thought they were thinking they would offer me later on, because that was what a lot of schools were telling me."

"I thought that I would have to go up there to their camp to get the offer, but they gave me the offer paper when I first got there, so I was real excited about that."

While on his unofficial visit Harris was able to get a firm grasp of what it would be like to go to school at OU, but the most memorable moment came when he got to sit down and talk to Bob Stoops.

"I toured everything with Coach Gundy and Coach Wright. We saw the dorms and all of that," Harris began. "Coach Stoops was not up there at that time, but he got to his office at the end of the visit and I went in to talk to him…"

"He sat me down and told me that my offer was there. My heart started beating, because it was big for me. It was really life changing for me. I watched OU on TV every year, but I did not ever know that I was going to play there. I was trying on the championship rings and everything that coach Stoops had."

Harris did not necessarily plan to commit that day, but after getting a feel for the level of excellence that surrounded the program he could not resist.

"The whole committing thing just happened," Harris beamed. "I was there on my tour and I liked all of the facilities and I was there with my dad. We talked about it and we told coach Stoops and told coach Wright." "My dad probably felt even more excited than I did!"

Lawton Mac head coach Ernie Manning has seen his fair share of top players in his 34 years of coaching high school football, and he feels that Harris ranks right up there with the best of the best.

"I think our players look up to him," said Manning with pride in his voice. "As a matter of fact I know that they look up to him as a leader. They really admire his qualities. He is one of those few kids that you just absolutely love to have in your program."

"He is probably best in high school as a run stopper. He uses his strength well and his technique well to do that. We have not placed him in a lot of cover situations as far as deep coverage and one-on-one coverage, but he will develop those skills quickly in college. He is smart and has the hips to cover."

Coach Manning may have knew that he had a hidden gem in his ranks, but recruiting services did not have him on their radar at all, but the Sooner offer changed things quickly.

Scout.com received the same film as OU and quickly elevated him in the National Top 300 and slotted him as a four-star prospect.

"I think that offer helped me a lot in the ratings," Harris acknowledged. "I was getting little looks here and there, but after I committed to OU everyone from all of these sites started calling me and stuff like that. It helped me to get where I could get looked at more. In Lawton we had Harrison Jeffers (2008 Texas Tech signee) and Cornelius Douglas (2008 Texas Tech signee) down here and I guess I was just kind of under their radar."

The recruiting services were not the only ones who noticed Harris. People in his community started to notice him more and more.

"Before I even got the OU offer would I go up to the elementary school and talk to the kids about what it takes to get an offer from a D1 school," Harris reported. "They would not really know who Kansas State was, but after I committed to OU it was completely different. They would be rampaging."

"I know when I first got the Kansas State offer it got out and everybody knew about it. I was getting little kids asking me what school I was going to go to. After I got the OU offer it really changed. I had people stopping me in the halls and little kids were asking me for my autograph and stuff because their favorite team is OU."

"I had people asking me for autographs during the games, so I would just have to tell them to wait until after the game," Harris continued. "I started seeing kids on the rail at the games with my number on their shirts. That was really eye opening to me."

This bowl season Oklahoma safeties Nic Harris and Lendy Holmes will be playing their final games in a Sooner uniform, and their departure will open up an opportunity for some young safeties to compete for their vacated spots.

Harris will be trying to throw his hat in the mix by enrolling at OU in January. The early enrollment will allow him to go through spring ball, but he has seen enough to know that he will have to work extremely hard to get in the mix.

"I did get to go to a lot of their games this year and it allowed me the chance to see what they go through and anticipate what I got to do to try and get to their level," said Harris.

"I know that in the future it is going to take a lot of hard work to get out there and play."

As a senior, Harris rushed for 1,144 yards and 21 touchdowns while helping lead the Highlanders on a deep playoff run that ended with a loss to Carl Albert in the semi-finals.

Harris plans to major in finance or business.

Note: This story originally appeared in the February, 2009 issue of Sooners Illustrated the Magazine. Click Here to get all of the information on how you can receive a full year of the magazine and a an annual subscription to all of the Inside Access at Soonersllustrated.com for only 99.99.

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