Harris hoping to play early

Fort Lauderdale wide receiver verbally committed to Wisconsin

When wide receiver Xavier Harris was contemplating his college decision, two factors made the University of Wisconsin stand out: academics and the opportunity for early playing time.

The Badgers' top three wide receivers are seniors and UW receivers coach Henry Mason has stated that the competition for playing time in 2006 will be wide open. In conversations with Mason, Harris has come away with the impression that he could fill a role immediately.

"Pretty much (Mason) just told me, you know, I come in and work hard my first year I will play," Harris said. "It all depends on me."

Harris, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound prospect from Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) High School, made his official visit to Wisconsin Dec. 9-11. On Dec. 13 he told Badger Nation that he would likely make official visits to Clemson and Michigan State in January before making his decision. This afternoon Harris said that made his verbal commitment to Wisconsin "probably like a week-and-a-half ago." He does not expect to take any more official trips, though he still technically has one scheduled for Jan. 13 with Clemson.

"Yeah, but I kind of doubt if I'm still going to go," Harris said. He never scheduled an official visit to Michigan State.

The trip to Wisconsin is Harris' only official visit to-date and it proved to be decisive.

"It was big, because you can hear about something but it doesn't really sink in until you see it and touch it and get to experience it yourself," Harris said. "So going up there and seeing it, that played a big role in my decision."

Though he acknowledged that it was nice to be free from the stress of the recruiting process, Harris did not plan to make his decision before January.

"I went into something that I liked so I went for it," he said of Wisconsin.

Harris is just a one-star prospect according to Scout.com but his accolades are impressive. In addition to Wisconsin, Clemson and Michigan State, Harris boasted scholarship offers from major-conference programs such as Auburn, Iowa, North Carolina State, South Florida and Rutgers.

The Orlando Sentinel recently named Harris the No. 61 prospect in the talent-rich state of Florida. Harris was his area's leading receiver each of the past two seasons. And, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Harris' 868 receiving yards this fall was the seventh-best total in Broward County history.

Instead of playing basketball this winter, Harris took a job, but he will run track in the spring, primarily competing in the 400-meter relay. He said his best time in the open 200 is 23.0 seconds and his top mark in the 100 is a 10.9.

While Harris hopes to compete immediately for playing time at wide receiver, the No. 1 reason he chose Wisconsin was academics. Harris plans to major in business/real estate.

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