The Hargrave Tigers were in town on Friday to take on West Virginia's junior varsity squad in what has become an annual rite of autumn for the two teams. For two Tiger standouts (running back Terence Kerns and wide receiver Andrew Harris, the game served as an introduction to the surroundings they will be calling home over the next few years.
OK, so maybe Andrew Harris's West Virginia career did not get off to the start he envisioned. In fact, it has yet to officially begin. The former high school teammate of current Mountaineer receiver/running back Jock Sanders originally signed with West Virginia in February, but still had some work to do on the academic side of the spectrum before he could begin his career in Blue and Gold.
That being said, the 6-3, 190 pound wide receiver is more than looking forward to beginning his time in Morgantown. Friday's game at Mountaineer Field against West Virginia's junior varsity did nothing to subdue that enthusiasm. If anything, it made him even more excited to be a Mountaineer.
"It's exciting, man," he told BlueGoldNews.com in an exclusive post-game interview. "It's a great atmosphere, and it gives me a bit of a feel how things can be. I cannot wait to get in here and start playing next year. This was a good experience though. I really liked playing in this stadium today. It was great."
While Harris may not have had an impact on the game from a statistical standpoint, his potential was certainly on display. The St. Petersburg Catholic product has both the size and speed to be a downfield factor in West Virginia's passing game. If you're looking for a comparison, think of former Mountaineer receiver Brandon Myles in terms of size and speed.
Although he is now happy, Harris took some time getting adjusted to Hargrave. The regimented, structured life of a military school enrollee is certainly different from what most students are used to coming out of high school.
"At first when I got there, I was down, you know? I wanted to be here, but I got over that," he explained. "I just know that I have to get my grades so that I can get through everything and do what I've got to do. It will be alright."
On the academic front, Harris is confident that his classroom struggles are now a thing of the past as he looks forward to a strong finish at Hargrave now that the football season is complete.
"It's coming along great," he said enthusiastically. "Right now, my GPA is sitting at a 3.3. I've taken the SAT and ACT, and I should be alright soon. I've got to stay the course, but there is absolutely no reason why I shouldn't be qualified."
Of course there is still the matter of re-signing with the Mountaineers in February, as both Harris and Hargrave teammate/fellow Mountaineer commit Terence Kerns will have to do. Both players are free to sign with any program they choose, but neither has any plans to go anywhere but Morgantown.
"I'm still coming here," Harris said. "I've just got to get all qualified and then I will be good to go."
It may be a little later than he expected, but the fact remains that Harris will soon be a Mountaineer, just as he has hoped all along.