SEEING DOUBLE: 3 things to know as twin linebackers Andrew, Michael Harris commit to UCF

Chris Boyle
The Daytona Beach News-Journal
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APOPKA — Announcing their college choices from a different sort of bounce house, Lake Brantley linebackers and twin brothers Andrew and Michael Harris gave UCF a much-needed recruiting jolt.

The duo verbally committed to the Knights Wednesday morning at a ceremony held at Rebounderz Indoor Trampoline and Adventure Park, their workplace away from the football field. The Harris twins listed Maryland and Michigan State as the other finalists in an exclusive video interview last week for USA TODAY.

Assuming the commitment sticks and the brothers sign a letter of intent in December, they would immediately become two of the school's highest-ranked recruits ever.

"We feel like they're building something special," Michael Harris said. "Coach T-Will (defensive coordinator Travis Williams) and (defensive ends/rush coach Kenny) Ingram can develop us into better players and better people in general.

"I want to make a big impact in the Big 12."

Andrew, Lake Brantley's leading tackler in 2021, is the No. 190 overall player and No. 13 linebacker in the country, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. Michael, who made 48 tackles in six games, is ranked No. 297 overall and 19th among linebackers.

Per 247Sports' archives, Andrew Harris slots in as the third-highest recruit in UCF history — behind only defensive lineman DeMarcus Johnson (Southwest C.C., 2002) and running back Cordarrian Richardson (Memphis Trezevant, 2017). Michael's not far behind with the sixth-highest composite score among Knights recruits all-time.

Here are three things to know about the Harris twins, and what it means for UCF.

UCF RECRUITING NOTEBOOK:Position-by-position breakdown of the Knights' top 2023 targets

Andrew Harris (28) led Lake Brantley with 103 total tackles during his junior season.

1. Scratching the surface

Andrew and Michael quickly garnered four-star consideration from most recruiting services last year, yet the brothers are relatively new to football.

They grew up in Jamaica, playing soccer and running track. Both twins are on Lake Brantley's track and field team, and Michael placed second in the long jump at this year's FHSAA Class 4A championships.

"I've been doing this 20 years, and they are probably the most natural in terms of picking it up and doing what I asked them to do," said Greg Miller, Lake Brantley's former defensive coordinator and the current head coach at River Ridge in New Port Richey. "They're very silly and fun-loving off the field, but when they get on the field, they've got blinders.

"Since their sophomore year, it's been more about preparing them for college — telling them how college life would be , how they're going to have to push and put their work in. They've picked it up since Day 1."

Explosive athletes with sideline-to-sideline speed, the Harris twins routinely seek out the big hit. Both players are listed at 6-foot-1, with Andrew weighing about 10 pounds more.

"We threw them in as practice players (as freshmen). I was the offensive coordinator; usually when you put in freshman linebackers you think, 'We're going to look good today.' These two guys just flying around the field making plays," Lake Brantley head coach Skip Clayton said. "We knew from the first time we saw them out there running around that they were really special football players."

Michael Harris (19) totaled 48 tackles in six games for Lake Brantley. He also took the silver medal in the long jump at the FHSAA Class 4A track and field championships.

2. A history of twins

UCF is quickly embracing the nickname "Twin U." The Harris brothers are poised to become the fourth set of twins to suit up for the Knights in the last decade.

Suffice it to say, it's been a good plan to this point.

Justin and Jordan McCray were starters for the 2013 Fiesta Bowl squad, protecting Blake Bortles along the interior of the line. Shaquill and Shaquem Griffin starred on defense when UCF went undefeated and beat Gus Malzahn's Auburn squad in the Peach Bowl four years later.

The Griffins reunited in the NFL; both were selected by the Seattle Seahawks, with Shaquem breaking ground as the league's first player born with amniotic band sequence.

"Our goal is to be better than the Griffin twins," Michael said. "We will outwork anybody."

Malzahn reeled in another set of Seminole County twins in his first recruiting class at UCF — DeMari and Ja'Cari Henderson from nearby Sanford Seminole, two potential building blocks for the team's secondary as it enters the Big 12 in 2023.

3. The first of many?

UCF badly needed to regain momentum on the recruiting trail, plummeting to 76th in 247Sports' team rankings at the end of June. The Knights lost commitments from four-star edge rusher Isaiah Nixon (St. Petersburg Lakewood) and tight end Jayvontay Conner (East Forsyth in Kernersville, N.C.).

Prior to Wednesday, only three Power Five programs found themselves lower in the rankings than UCF — Arizona State, BYU and Houston.

Adding the Harris twins bumped the Knights back up to 58th, and several other major targets have locked in commitment dates this month.

UCF is a finalist for Miami Central three-star wide receiver Lamar Seymore (July 11), Osceola four-star defensive lineman John Walker (July 28) and Lake Mary four-star defensive back Braeden Marshall (July 30).

Walker, the No. 97 overall player in the country, has the Knights in his top-five with traditional blue-bloods Florida, Miami, Michigan and Ohio State.

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