Madison Southern head coach Jon Clark has a coaching resume that has taken him to many schools and many levels, but his freshman running back Damien Harris is still an unusual sight for him.
"I was at Auburn in '06 and at Syracuse in '07, so I've been around major college football players. Size wise, I've never seen a kid built like this at his age. He's every bit of 5'11, 195 right now and he looks like he would be an SEC freshman-sophomore running back already. He's absolutely jacked. Mom and dad are both tall. Mom's over 6'0. I think he'll probably end up being over 6'0 and he can carry 225-230-lbs on his frame easily."
Last season, Harris rushed for 742 yards and 11 touchdowns on just 62 carries (11.9 yard average). A concussion ended his season early, but has not stopped everyone from seeing what likely lies ahead. His size and strength is unusual for his age, but his speed combined with it, makes him special.
"He is a freak in the weight room," Clark says. "As a freshman, he played football and then he played basketball, then he goes to track, so he hasn't had a lot of weight room time yet because he's gone from sport to sport to sport. He's power cleaning around 250-lbs already, benching around 250 already and squatting 375-400-lbs and he's barely lifted and we full squat. In his 40, he's probably in the high 4.4s right now. I clocked him at a 4.53 before his track season started and he's still working on his form, so my guess is he's in the high 4.4s right now."
Last week, the first of what should be many scholarship offers came his way, catching the youngster off guard.
"Wake Forest offered him. I think he's pretty shocked. He hasn't even played a full season of varsity yet. He played six games for us. I think he's surprised, but I think he's also, being one of the fastest kids in the state, he ran a 10.8 as an 8th grader last year, he's always had quite a bit of exposure around him. I don't think he quite sees what his potential is yet, but that's part of us trying to install that work ethic."
Off the field, Clark says Harris is a model citizen, carrying a 3.0 grade point average in the classroom. The Demon Deacons will likely not be the last team to offer, and there are others who have started to show interest.
"Kentucky and Louisville have been inquiring about him. I've talked to Florida's aware of him. They know what's going on. Fresno State, they're aware of him. The thing with him though is, everybody looks at him and says wow, he's unique and he's a freshman. Everybody's waiting to see how he really develops, how big he's going to get is going to be the biggest factor, cause he has the frame to be a big boy."
This summer, a few programs should get an early look at Harris, as he hits the camp circuit.
"We haven't set everything yet. We'll try to get him to National Underclassman camp in Atlanta. He'll probably go to UK to go to their one-day. He hasn't done a lot other than the Best of the Midwest (in Indianapolis in February), so we'll get his feet wet and get him in front of people for sure."
Freshman Highlights - RB #34