Ever since Urban Meyer became Florida’s head coach, the Gators have made recruiting south Florida a top priority, evidenced by the class of 2007 which includes six from that talent-rich area where speed is the name of the game. Speed is a big reason Brandon Harris of Miami’s Booker T. Washington is one of Florida’s top targets for the recruiting class of 2008.
Harris, a 5-11, 186-pounder, thinks the competition in south Florida sets it apart from the rest of the nation.
“Well, I think it’s just … the competitiveness in all the guys … there are a lot of top athletes down here that are just competing against each other every week,” he said. “It really pushes everybody to work harder and get better.
Most teams are looking at Harris as a cornerback and the 4.35 in the 40 speedster brings a great work ethic along with his outstanding athletic ability to the football field. Right now it is track season for Harris, who doubles as a receiver on the football field.
“Our spring (football) is actually going on right now,” Harris started. “But since I’m participating in track I won’t be able to make football practice. So right after track season we can could go ahead and do football and things.”
Right now Harris is hearing from schools all over America. He has already compiled a great offer list.
“Oh yeah, right now, a lot of schools been showing me a lot of answers so I’m just listening to all the schools right now,” he said. “I have offers from Miami, Rutgers, FIU, Tennessee, Auburn, Ole Miss, Virginia, West Virginia and Duke.
One school that has been in constant contact with Harris is the University of Florida. Coach John “Doc” Holliday recruits south Florida for the Gators and has already made Harris a big time target for 2008. The Gators have a dire need at the cornerback position and Harris seems to fit the bill quite nicely.
“Oh yeah, they’ve been keeping in touch a lot lately,” Harris said. “Coach Holliday has been sending me mail everyday now. I really haven’t had a chance to meet him in person yet. But, from what I see in him he’s a real nice guy. He’s doing a good job recruiting.
“They haven’t offered me yet, but I’m really interested. It’s hard not to be interested in that, the championship team. So I’m real … very interested.”
The Gators are looking to further capitalize on their 2006 National Championship by convincing prospects that they too can win championships if they sign with the Gators. Harris definitely sees the lure from a title, but there is more to it.
“That’s a major part, but that’s not the only reason,” Harris said. “You know, I’ve been to games and I’ve seen the Florida facilities and everything. I see how they run their program and their coaches and their staff. And I’m familiar with a lot of guys on the team as well, so that plays a big part of why I’m interested.”
He has had a chance to visit Gainesville a few times and not just for football.
“Mostly all of our state track meets are held there on the Florida campus,” he said. “So when we go to the state track meet, we’re able to roam around and visit the facilities and see the weight room and the locker room, football and everything like that.”
The hometown Miami Hurricanes will most likely be in the hunt till the end for Harris. He likes what he sees from Miami.
“I would have to give them a good look too,” he said. “…based on the direction that the program is headed in.”
The coaches from the respective schools above are on top of Harris because of what he shows in game film. He talks a little bit about what the different coaching staffs are telling him.
“I would say my speed and my mindset going into the game and the way I look at the game, and study the game before the game,” he said. “[They like] my loosey-ness…I play the game real loose, with a focused mind. I’m not tense and I can pretty much make plays all over the field on each side of the ball.
“Right now, (the schools are) really undecided, they just like me because I’m a great athlete. Most of them say I’m a defensive back.”
There is one thing that anyone that watches film on Harris will notice. He is not going to back down and he wants to show the guy opposite him, just what he is going to have to look for during the entire game.
“I come into the game … if I’ve got that number one receiver lined up in front of me, I know for a fact that they’re going to give him the ball on the first play,” he started. “They’ve got to set the tone for the game. So my first intention is to punch him right in the mouth and take control of that guy and let him know that’s how it’s going to be all night.”
People don’t mess around in Mr. Harris’ neighborhood.
The future Criminal Justice major likes to lay the law on the field and he also has a handle on the top priority he is looking for in his college choice.
“I really have to look at … first of all the academics, most of all,” he said. “I’m doing really well on my academics right now. So my college of choice would really have to be based on the academic standards of the school.
Let’s see, speed? Check. Brains? Check. Physical play? Check. Brandon Harris is a complete football player that has an extremely bright future ahead of him.