Rebs bringing in Sunshine linebacker

Maurice Harris (LB, Homestead, FL) - Homestead's head coach confirmed with us that's #21 ranked MLB will visit Ole Miss this weekend.

"He has taken visits to Arizona State (10/10), Wisconsin (12/10), and Rutgers (12/17). Maurice will be going to Ole Miss this weekend, and he will save the last one for later," added Bobby McCray, who is also Maurice's legal guardian and great uncle.

Harris was named to the prestigious 1st Team All-Dade Team which represents the 22 best players in the Miami viewing area.

"Maurice had 112 tackles, 12 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, and 1 interception for us," added head coach Bobby McCray. "He was our Team's Defensive MVP. He also made the Homestead News Leader's All-Star Team and was selected to play in the All-American bowl and Dade/Broward All-star classic. He had a great year."

Maurice first made a name for himself when he won the Spark competition at the Nike combine in Miami. The Spark takes into account a recruit's 40 time, vertical, shuttle, and how many times they can bench 185.

"Out of the 400 athletes in Miami, he came in first," added Coach McCray. "He ran a 4.5 forty, 36 1/2" vertical, 4.0 shuttle, and benched 185 twenty two times."

Harris currently stands at 6' 1", 200, so where does he project?

"He will probably play linebacker because of his great speed and toughness. He is very physical and very young. He will graduate at 17 years old. He has a big up side. The kid has not even hit his growth spurt yet."

Maurice shows his toughness by not only what he does on the football field but what he does off of it.

"He might win the 225 (pounds) and under (in the state of Florida) in wresting this year. Maurice is a great wrestler. The kid has been all over the place until I took him under my wings. Most kids in his position would have gone to the other side of the street, but he never lost faith and never crossed that line. He has over a 3.0 GPA and has already made a qualifying score on his SAT test. Maurice has never been in trouble over here or anywhere he has come from. You just do not find many out there like Maurice. He is a born leader."

People in the Miami area compare Harris to his position coach.

"Everybody says Michael Barrow and Maurice are two peas in a pod. Michael has been his position coach over here. Barrow played in the league for 13 years after leaving the Miami Hurricanes. They both have a lot of the same attributes. They are so tough minded, fast as a cat, can read offenses quickly, and both of them are built a like."

Those are some heavy words coming from Maurice's head coach, so it comes as no surprise that the Rebels attracted Harris because of Patrick Willis' play this season.

"With Ole Miss getting the Butkus award winner and having that other LB (Rory Johnson) come in there, and in one year, put himself in the draft early really caught his eye. All of those kids want to make money one day, so it is no secret that the more success you have at sending people to the league, the more it opens their eyes. I think Maurice sees a lot of himself in Patrick Willis. He can play the run and pass. They have that ability to cover the athletes out of the backfield. The opportunity to take over for Willis is a big selling point for him. Also, a former All-American from Ole Miss, Pete Harris, went to Homestead. I know Pete well and he has said some good things about Ole Miss. The SEC is also a big factor. You see what they did to Ohio State. Ohio State has great individual speed, but the SEC has team speed. Those are two different animals. Look at what happened to Notre Dame too. The SEC is a speed league, and that is what fits Maurice's game. I tell you what, I have not seen anybody better in Dade County. He will fit great into that type of program. The Alabama's, LSU's, Florida's, Ole Miss', and Georgia's play a fast style of attacking defense. The SEC defenses are very fast."

How did Harris' trip to Rutgers go?

"He has not said too much about his trip to Rutgers. Their head coach was the DC at Miami for a number of years so he is familiar with this area and signs a bunch of players out of here. I know he plays a real aggressive style of defense too. Eric Foster, a tackle who plays for Rutgers, is a graduate of Homestead too."

What about Wisconsin?

"They were the first school to offer him a scholarship last year. He really enjoyed his visit there. He said he really liked it up there."

And Arizona State?

"Well, right now, that was with the old staff. He has not spoken to anybody on their new staff, so I am not sure what is going to happen there. Although, I personally know Dennis Erickson and what he is all about. He was at Miami for a while and is a great coach. But I just do not know if it is not too late for him to really consider them or not."

Who is coming after Harris the hardest?

"Right now, I think Wisconsin and Ole Miss are recruiting him the hardest. Wisconsin, like I said, was the first school to offer him and really get involved. They do a good job of keeping in touch with him. Their head coach came to our house and laid out their plans for him. He is very impressed with Wisconsin. And Ole Miss, Art Kehoe is a very likable person. He knows this area inside out. Art coached at Miami for 25 years and is very well respected in this area. Having a chance to play in an up and coming SEC program with the former Miami coaches there, Ed Orgeron, Dan Werner, and Art Kehoe is very attractive. I know they know what to do to take that program to the next level. It will be interesting to see where he ends up going, but I would have to say those two programs have a leg up on everybody else."

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