Nigel Harris talks Vanderbilt offer

A college coach couldn't go wrong offering Nigel Harris at linebacker, fullback, or even punter. He does all three at historic Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Fla. The 6-foot-2, 192-pound athlete is in his second year as a starter for the Terriers and enjoying a fine year in Florida 6A play. Harris talked of the scholarship offer coming from the Commodores.


"At my high school I play inside linebacker," said Nigel Harris, "but I'll most likely move to the outside when I get to college. I'm the 'Sam' linebacker in our 3-4 defense. In our last game with Chamberlain, I had 13 tackles and a fumble recovery."

Harris has 74 tackles through 10 games nearly duplicating his 7.31 tackles-per-game as a sophomore. This year he's called upon more offensively at fullback with 129 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the season. If the punt return man only has the punter to beat for a score he may be in trouble against Hillsborough. Harris stays in the game and punts for a 35 yard average.

"I'm faster this year going downhill," Harris said. "In the off-season one of my main goals was getting my speed up to be able to get past the lineman easier. When you're trying to get past the guards to make a play on the ball carrier you're going to need to have speed and strength. I feel like I've improved in both areas."

Hillsborough went 8-2 on the season finishing 2nd in District 8-6A behind nationally ranked Armwood. The Terriers, despite a mid-season loss to Armwood, were the only Florida team to score in double digits against their vaulted defense.

"Overall, it's been a well-played season by myself and my teammates," said Harris. "We've accomplished a lot of the things we set out to do in the beginning of the year. We came ready to perform in every game. We wanted to be undefeated right now, but where we're at is not too bad."

Harris recently received an invitation to participate in the U.S. Army All-American Combine next January in San Antonio. He'll get to showcase his talent against 500 of the nation's top high school underclassmen. A good performance there will likely lead to more offers. Right now he has two to his credit.

"Vanderbilt offered me in the spring of my sophomore year," said Harris. "My other offer is from UAB. I haven't had a chance to visit either school yet. I've watched a lot of Vanderbilt games on TV, and they've played some top-notch opponents to the wire. They barely lost the Florida game and were right there with Arkansas and Alabama.

"It was just a couple of little mistakes that were the difference in the games. They've shown quite a lot, and that goes a long way with me. I'm going to make time to get up there for a game for sure."

So far, Harris has just attended in-state games at Florida, South Florida, and Miami. He wants to get outside his comfort zone to see other states and universities before he makes his decision on college.

"After high school, I'm looking at going to a place I can stand being for the next four of five years of my life," Harris said. "By that I mean I place I'm going to enjoy living. I would like to stay close to home, but the most important thing for me is finding a good college environment to be a part of. If I find the place I feel is right then I won't hesitate to go ahead and commit whenever that time may be."

Harris is cousins with Lindsey Lamar, a junior wide receiver at USF. Harris plans to compete in the 100 meter dash, the 110 meter hurdles, the long jump, and the triple jump with the track team in the spring. He reports a 3.9 GPA.

Hillsborough will face Largo in the first round of the playoffs on Friday, November 18th. Both schools boast an 8-2 record on the year. Harris wears No. 27 for the Terriers.

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