Linebacker recruit would love returning home

Published: Monday, August 1, 2011 at 5:21 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 1, 2011 at 5:21 p.m.

Nigel Harris jump-started his recruiting campaign with a strong showing at Friday Night Lights on July 22 at Florida Field.


Nigel Harris

Although the established prospects of the Class of 2012 grabbed much of the spotlight, incoming juniors such as Harris forced their way onto coaches' radars with head-turning performances.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound outside linebacker from Tampa doesn't have the heavier build typical for the position, but focuses on footwork and fundamentals — something he said Florida coaches noticed.

“They were telling me I had great footwork, which is exactly how I play,” Harris said. “They said I just have to keep doing what I'm doing.”

Harris led Tampa Hillsborough with 96 tackles as a sophomore, garnering scholarship offers from Vanderbilt and the University of Alabama-Birmingham. After his first Friday Night Lights experience, Harris said he was amped to start the season.

“It felt like game time out there, with the lights and the music and the atmosphere,” he said. “I didn't expect it to be so big and competitive.”

Just getting started with recruiting, Harris admits the attention surprises him but that he's ready to bring his different size and approach to a big-time college program.

“It's fun. A lot of people noticing me among all these other top athletes in the country, it's breathtaking,” he said. “I'm not the same shape as most other linebackers, but I'm really high on technique. I think linebackers should be able to run and be athletic instead of just bruisers.”

Coming off Friday Night Lights and Auburn's camp earlier this summer, Harris hopes more SEC offers come —particularly from the Gators, which are high on his list.

“This is just up the road from me, so I'm familiar with the Gators and love the program,” he said. “I was actually born in Gainesville, so I wouldn't mind living here again.”

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