Damon Harrison's improbable road to the NFL

Find out how Damon Harrison went from high school football drop out to an NFL lineman.

The New York Jets have made great strides in strengthening their pass rush this offseason. They drafted a hard hitting defensive end in Quinton Coples with their first selection, a player who can play both linebacker as well as a lineman and DeMario Davis in the third-round. The biggest surprise this offseason has been the play of Damon Harrison. A Louisiana native, Harrison made the final roster for Gang Green and will play in the first regular season game on Sunday.

Harrison was signed as an undrafted rookie earlier this offseason. His college life is very unusual for a player in the NFL. As a high school player in the small Louisiana town of New Liberia, Harrison was cut twice from his high school football team. Discouraged by the setback, he vowed to never play football again and switched his focus to basketball. However, recovery from a torn meniscus saw Harrison gain 40 pounds and prompted him to try out once again for the football team.

Only this time, he made it. The rest as they say is history.

Having only played one year of football as a defensive end, Harrison was offered a spot on only one college team, a local community school. Upon trying out, he was cut and once again was told he would not be good enough.

Harrison finally received his break when a former coach called and asked him to try out for his new assignment, William Penn, a small school located in Iowa. At William Penn, Harrison was unstoppable. He finished his college career with a whopping 224 tackles 37 tackles for loss and six sacks. While he didn't play at a big name school, Harrison does not let that faze him and he instead attentively listens to any advice his Jet teammates have to offer.

"I'm a guy that came from a small school so I need all the help and teaching and coaching I can get," stated Harrison. "Everybody's been amazing."


Jets Insider Top Stories