In Depth Discussion with Ms. Harrison

Mark Harrison and his mother, Sonia Harrison, met the Rutgers staff for the first time in person, on Tuesday, for an unofficial visit. It sounds like the Rutgers staff truly laid out the red-carpet treatment for them. In this interview with Sonia Harrison, she shares what made the trip so special and in the end, the reasons for her son's commitment to Rutgers University.

On Tuesday afternoon, Mark Harrison [Bunnell HS, CT], became the eleventh pledge for the 2009 Rutgers Football class. Harison's commitment came during his unofficial visit of the Rutgers University campus, where both he and his mother had the opportunity to meet with Rutgers Football Head Coach Greg Schiano, other staff members, and players. SOR had the opportunity to discuss, at length, the chief reasons for Harison's commitment, with Mark's mother, Sonia Harrison.

SOR: Overall, tell us about the trip and your impression of Rutgers.

SH: It was really good. It was a very, very good visit. We showed up at 10 in the morning and did not get out of there till around 5 this evening. We are exhausted.

In terms of the visit, we felt very comfortable the moment we got there. The players really embraced him. He totally looked comfortable with the guys. No. 7, Tiquan Underwood, came right up to him and gave him a handshake and a hug and they bonded really well. He got to hang out with a bunch of the other guys and they made him feel special.

SOR: What did you think of the coaching staff?

SH: I absolutely loved them all. They were all very complimentary of Mark. We got to spend some time with Coach Rippon and Coach McNulty and they were both wonderful. Coach Schiano told Mark that playing football for him goes beyond football. That he would help raise Mark and turn him in to a man. I really trusted Coach Schiano and found him to be a man of high character. He had a warmness about him and kept it real. He has already made such an impression on Mark and I know Mark trusts him and feels good around him. I think Coach Schiano is going to bring out the best in my son.

SOR: Talk a little bit about your thoughts of the facilities.

SH: I thought they were awesome. But Mark's eyes lit up when some of the guys were lifting weights in the weight room. He saw how intense it was in there and he told me he could really see himself working out with those guys. He also got to spend a good amount of time with JB (Strength and Conditioning Coach Jay Butler). JB looked at his numbers from the combine and how well he ran on tape and he told us he thought Mark was a real special athlete. When he weighed him in at 229 today, he told us he was shocked at how well he ran and jumped for his size.

SOR: Did the coaching staff tell you where they intend to play Mark Harrison?

SH: Coach Schiano stopped us at a certain point, and he told us they were recruiting him at WR and they had a scholarship for him at the position. Mark by then had already known he wanted to commit.

SOR: What about the academics?

SH: We spent some time with Scott (Walker) the academic person. And they laid out a sample plan of how they would plan out his academic day. It had a lot of structure to it. I think Mark will really benefit from that type of system. How they stay on top of the kids and give them the needed support was really important and impressive for me.

SOR: What are your overall thoughts about his commitment?

SH: I feel very relieved. I know Mark's coach, Coach Bruno was fielding a lot of calls as of late and we could put that behind us now. We found a place where he is close enough to home, provides a great education and also a Big-Time Football Program. Now we can focus on his senior season, his team and his school work.

Mark Harrison Profile


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