GROVELAND – Even though the season didn’t quite turn out the way anyone around the South Lake High School football program envisioned heading into the fall, it couldn’t have went much better for junior safety prospect Marcell Harris. One of the top-rated prospects in the state of Florida for the Class of 2013, Harris backed up the hype with strong play over the course of 10 games for the Eagles this fall.
“My performance was this year, I thought was pretty good,” Harris reports. “I think I could have some more interceptions. But teams didn’t really want to pass against us.”
Even still, Harris notched 93 tackles, 11 pass break-ups, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, three interceptions, four blocked kicks and two special teams touchdowns (one on a blocked punt, the other on a kickoff return). All in all, a pretty impressive showing from the almost 6-foot-2, 200-pound junior on a 4-6 team which just missed on qualifying for the state playoffs.
However, from the standpoint of South Lake coach Walter Banks, there is still plenty of room for Harris to get better.
“Marcell hasn’t topped out with his potential yet,” Banks said of the latest blue-chip prospect to come under his direction. “His upside is so high, because he’s a kid – if he gets it in his mind – he can play inside and be a linebacker. But then we can throw him out there and play corner. He can line up and play wide receiver. He’s up there with Jeff [Demps] in terms of being the most talented kid we’ve had in the last four or five years with elite-type players.”
Plenty of big-time programs have stood up and taken notice of Harris as well. Florida, Florida State and Tennessee have already extended offers. Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Miami, Oklahoma and Texas, among others, have also shown considerable interest in the possible five-star candidate.
The Seminoles have brought in Harris for two games this season as an unofficial visitor. The most recent trip came on Nov. 12 when FSU hosted in-state rival Miami at Doak Campbell Stadium.
“That was a good one,” Harris noted of the 23-19 win for FSU. “It was a closer game than expected for Florida State. Miami, they came out and hung with them the whole time. At the end, Bradham had his big hit – and I don’t think Miami wanted anymore of him.”
This coming weekend, Harris will make his second trip of the fall to Gainesville – he previously visited for the Alabama game on Oct. 1 – to watch Florida and Florida State slug it out in another hotly-contested in-state rivalry.
“That’s going to be a crazy game,” he explained of what the expectations are for this coming weekend. “That’s a big-time rivalry. The crowd is going to be crazy. It should be a hard-fought game. Both of those teams, they go after it every year. It should be a good one to watch.”
UF assistant Brian White has primary recruiting responsibility for the area of Florida that includes Groveland. He has already started to build a solid rapport with Harris over the past several months.
“He’s a funny guy. He’s always telling me to stay on top of my schoolwork,” Harris said of White.
Harris is the son of former UF defensive back Mike “Mud” Harris, who lettered for the Gators from 1994-97. Marcell Harris is currently on pace to enroll at the school of his choice in January of 2013.
Justin Wells hosts a weekly recruiting video chat with Andrew Spivey on Tuesday nights from 8:30-9:30 p.m. EST. You can view the show live on the Gator Country TV page.