Harris Ready to Start Switching Gears

Making his first official appearance in Madison since hoisting the WIAA State Championship trophy over his head, defensive end Shelby Harris is ready to get to Madison and start winning.

MADISON – The last time Shelby Harris was in Madison, he was hoisting his second WIAA Division I state championship trophy over his head, leading the Mequon Homestead Highlanders to a two-point victory.

One month later, the feeling still hasn't sunk in for Harris.

"It still hasn't hit me that I won another state championship," Harris said. "I don't think it's going to sink in until the banquet when I get to hoist the trophy again. I don't want it to end. You never want your senior year to end so you hold onto it as long as you can."

While Harris still is holding on, the three-star, 48th-ranked defensive end according to Scout is starting to let go a little bit, which was evident by Harris taking his official visit to Madison, almost nine months after he first committed.

"I had a real good time," said Harris, who ranked the weekend as a perfect 10. "I found out a lot about the players and the coaches and they are all good people. I can see myself working with them and playing with them for a long time in the future. They are all good people and I am happy to go to school with them because they seem like people that I want to be around.

"They are all here for the same reason I am – we all want to win, we know what we need to do and that we need to start working before we get up here."

Getting the change to meet with his coaches and school professors, hang out on State Street, get a weight room demonstration strength coach John Dettman and have brunch at Coach Bielema's house, Harris was busy all weekend long with his fellow 2009 commits.

Getting to know players like Chris Borland, Tyler Dippel and Zac Matthias and sitting by Travis Frederick during the Wisconsin basketball game, Harris was hosted by freshman Josh Oglesby on Friday and redshirt Marcus Cromartie on Saturday, both of whom made an impact on him and, more importantly, his mother.

"When I hung out with Josh on Friday, I got to meet a lot of the offensive line," Harris said. "Josh was funny and I found out that he went to Homestead actually for his freshman year. He's a real nice guy and he's real chill. He likes Wisconsin and talks about the program real highly and is exciting for everyone to come up here.

"Marcus on Saturday was real nice and he got along with my mom a lot at dinner," he added. "He's a nice person and very chill and he has his head on straight. He knows that he has to go out and get to work and he's trying his heart on to make an impact on the field. He has the right attitude. Those two guys know what they need to do to get things done."

The highlight of the weekend, however, for Harris was having a sit down meeting with defensive line coach Charlie Partridge.

"Coach Partridge likes the fact that I have really long arms and I asked him how much more weight I should put on because I am at 245 right now and he thought that I shouldn't have to put on too much more weight," Harris said. "He wanted me to keep lifting and keep my speed up, which was a good thing to hear. He wants me to play defensive end and that if I keep working harder, I should be fine."

More importantly, Partridge informed Harris that he plans on keeping the prospect at defensive end, a position that Harris has mastered for Homestead and the position he won state defensive player of the year honors at his junior year.

"It means a lot and that they have trust in me and believe that I can get it done," said Harris about playing the end position. "I have to show them that I can. I have to work harder now, know what I am doing and be ready when I get up there and listen to what they tell me. If I happen to switch positions and they think I'll be better some place else, that's OK too. Wherever the team needs me, that's where I am going to play."

Combine all those experiences and factors from last weekend, Harris is getting ready to switch gears from Mequon Red to Wisconsin Cardinal.

"Everything we did makes me want to go up there tomorrow for practice and start lifting," Harris said. "I've got to take care of business in the classroom first but then I am ready to go."

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