Hello: Drake Harris Comment Count

Ace April 14th, 2013 at 2:56 PM


Grand Rapids (MI) Christian wide receiver Drake Harris announced his commitment to Michigan today on Twitter:

Harris, of course, initially committed to Michigan State as a two-sport athlete—he's also an excellent basketball player—but decided to open up his recruitment when he chose to focus on football in college, saying he wanted to compete for a national championship. It appears that Harris believes he's got a better shot of doing that in Ann Arbor than East Lansing.


Harris was in Columbus on Friday. As in, like, two days ago. But sure, Buckeye fans, there's no chance this ends in disappointment:


Something tells me that next trip isn't actually happening.

Anyway, informative update ahoy!


Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
4*, #3 WR,
#26 Ovr
4*, #4 WR,
#56 Ovr
Watch List
4*, 97, #3 WR,
#36 Ovr

Harris is regarded as one of the four best receivers in the country by each of the services that have released rankings; if he maintained his overall ranking on Scout and 247, he'd be in position to earn a fifth star by Signing Day (he's just one spot away on Scout as it is). All but Scout (6'3", 175 lbs.) list Harris at 6'4" and 180-185 lbs.—he fits the Borges ideal of a big, athletic outside receiver.

On Harris' Scout profile page, his strengths are listed as "Body Control", "Hands and Concentration", and "Route-Running Skills", with strength his only listed area for improvement. Midwest analyst Allen Trieu provides this free scouting report:

Has truly elite ball skills. Height, leaping ability and body control allow him to go up and adjust to passes most would not come down with. Is a glider on the field, and as a result, is faster than most will give him credit for. Can get deep, and is also good after the catch. Smooth, polished route runner who understands how to set up defenders and create separation. Willing and effective blocker, but must add weight and strength. - Allen Trieu

When putting together a list of each region's top prospects, Scout's staff mentioned Harris as one of the Midwest's best players ($):

Harris is a great athlete who is very natural at going up and getting the ball and does everything on the field as smooth as can be. He answered questions about his level of competition in the state title game, where he dominated despite being double teamed by a good team.

About that state title game...

Grand Rapids Christian’s Drake Harris set an MHSAA championship game record with 243 yards and one touchdown on eight receptions. Harris finished with over 2,000 receiving yards for the season; only the 12th person nationally to do so.

Grand Rapids Christian defeated a very solid Orchard Lake St. Mary's squad in that game; OLSM featured a very solid junior corner named Jalen Watts-Jackson, who has an Idaho offer and could see increased D-I interest. Harris, well, destroyed everything.

ESPN's evaluation echoes Scout's discussion of deceptive speed; again, strength and bulk are the only major areas of concern ($):

Possesses great height and wingspan with below average bulk, average strength and deceptively good top-end speed. Can build the speed off the line of scrimmage to run past defenders if given cushion. Can cover five yards in two strides consistently. Long-legged athlete with above-average quickness that will improve with increased strength, but he already has the initial quickness to escape press. Will run the short crossing routes and make catches with good concentration in contact situations. Has very good hand-eye coordination and focus. Snatches the ball out of the air in awkward positions. He is a natural hand plucker away from his frame, but will cradle some catches at times. Has shown quick feet and good body control to provide definition at the break point and to get his feet down on the sideline and end line. Not much wiggle, but surprising acceleration to outrun defender's angles.

His ability to haul in jump balls also comes in for high praise.

Tim Sullivan caught Harris last fall against East Grand Rapids; despite needing to add strength, Harris displayed good toughness, and Tim correctly predicted that he'd end up focusing on the gridiron over the hardwood ($):

His combination of height and speed made him an excellent deep threat for the Eagles, and though East Grand Rapids spent a lot of time bracketing him in coverage, he still managed to get behind the secondary on a couple occasions. Often, when an athlete considers himself a basketball player first and a football player second, you expect a bit of toughness to be lacking. That wasn't the case with Harris, who was willing to go over the middle and take a hit while still holding onto the ball. He also put in full effort on the rare occasion that he was asked to block. ... In all, it might not be long before Harris considers himself a football player first and a basketball player second - he's just that good on the gridiron.

Harris showed the ability to catch the ball away from his body, as well. To sum it up, Harris is a lanky, deceptively fast athlete who provides a solid deep threat, jump ball ability, and even the willingness to block and run routes over the middle. Once he gets into a college weight program, it appears he'll be the complete package at wide receiver.


In addition to Michigan, Harris held offers from Alabama, Cal, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Penn State, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, among several others.


Grand Rapids Christian won the Division 3 state championship last fall, led by Harris and 2014 offensive lineman Tommy Doles, who also holds a Michigan offer. Despite their recent success, GRC hasn't produced a BCS commit—or anyone ranked above a two-star—in the Rivals era.


According to 247, Harris caught 91 passes for 2015 yards (22.1 ypc) and 25 touchdowns in his junior season, numbers that are impressive to say the least. As a sophomore, he hauled in a mere 45 receptions for 950 yards (21.1 ypc) and ten TDs.


Because of his focus on basketball until recently, Harris hasn't hit the football camp circuit hard, and there's not a readily-available 40 time for him based on a quick Googlestalk. His highlight tape lists a 4.39-second 40, which I'm giving four FAKEs out of five (that's an elite electronic time for an NFL wide receiver).


There's also a highlight package from last year's state title game:


There's going to be plenty of opportunity for Harris to make an immediate impact when he steps on campus; in 2014, Jeremy Gallon, Drew Dileo, and Jeremy Jackson will have graduated, leaving an as-of-yet unproven group of receivers, none of whom have Harris' blue-chip recruiting profile. It also helps that he plans to enroll early, per TomVH. If he lives up to the hype, Harris should at least compete with Amara Darboh, Jehu Chesson, and perhaps one or more of the 2013 wide receiver signees for a starting role, and it'd be a surprise if he didn't see the field as a freshman. From there, he's got NFL potential and should be a big-impact player for Michigan.


Harris is Michigan's fifth commit—the first at wide receiver—in a class that currently is expected to have around 16 members, at least until that number goes up due to attrition. Harris fills the biggest need in the class as an elite, field-stretching receiver; other needs include strongside DE (where Michigan is in good shape for five-stars Da'Shawn Hand and Malik McDowell) and inside linebacker (Michael Ferns projects to the strong side, and M will take one more). Otherwise, the coaches can largely focus on bringing in elite talent regardless of position, as Brady Hoke and Co. have done an extremely impressive job of filling in the many holes on the depth chart in the last couple of classes.



April 14th, 2013 at 3:30 PM ^

To me it's a fair trade off. Burke was gone anyway and I'd actually feel guilty if he came back next year and did something to lower his draft stock like what happened to Barkley at USC. Drake is a huge get at a position of need, and hopefully this puts to rest the stigma that we can't land top level skill players on offense.

The only thing I'll caution folks on this board about is not to gloat too much at Sparty's expense. Keep in mind that it's only April, and this is the second time Harris has committed. Lots of time between now and national signing day. While he's clearly not going to bolt for MSU, you can't rule out a guy like this eventually flipping or being at risk for flipping down the road to OSU or Alabama. This is the risk that comes with recruiting top flight talent these days. The safest commits are usually the ones like Derrick Green who wait until very late in the process to make a decision. The guys who commit early can often be a risk later on down the road. We saw this first hand last year with Conley. We will see more of this if we are lucky enough to get additional verbals over the next 3-4 months from the likes of McDowell, Westphal, Peppers, Hand, Scott, etc.

As a Michigan fan, I'm thrilled we got the verbal and it seems like it was a well thought out choice, but I don't believe for a second that the Sabans and Meyers of the world will stay away from Harris just because of today's announcement. We might very well find ourselves in Sparty's position a few months from now, so let's be sure to celebrate today with some level of class and humility.


April 14th, 2013 at 7:10 PM ^

I would not presume that Drake Harris ever plays another sport besides football, but to address your comment, its rare to play two but not impossible. As already mentioned in this thread Tai Streets played football and basketball and Robbie Reid played basketball and baseball.

My two cents: As for schools with academics, we had two guys play baseball and football at Northwestern while I was there, and one, if not both, were All BIG in football and one ended up playing baseball professionally. It can be done, its rare, but not the rarest thing ever.

rob f

April 15th, 2013 at 9:33 AM ^

was definitely a badass, by your definition!  It's been a long time since we saw Jokisch playing both sports (1983 thru 1985, if I recall correctly), and while he got more football playing time than hoops action, he was no slouch in either sport.

That said, I agree that it's got to be nearly impossible to be a serious student-athlete at U of M and compete in more than one sport nowadays.  The round-the-calendar physical demands that football players must now deal with are so much more time-consuming than they were even just a generation ago.  Then go back a couple more generations: Could anyone imagine any U of M Athlete ever matching the letter-winning feats of (to go back to the 1940's) the Elliott boys, Pete and Bump?  


STW P. Brabbs

April 14th, 2013 at 8:39 PM ^

Despite being a top-25 basketball recruit and a top-50 football recruit*, Trannon was distinctly underwhelming in both sports.  So if anything, he's a cautionary tale as to why one shouldn't play two sports.

* I only discovered this via Wikipedia, and was utterly amazed - I remembered him as a pretty terrible football player and a nearly anonymous basketball player.   I also remember that, every year, Sparty was convinced they had an unstoppable matchup problem on their hands. Too bad he had hands of stone. 


April 14th, 2013 at 1:52 PM ^


...saying he wanted to compete for a national championship. It appears that Harris believes he's got a better shot of doing that in Ann Arbor than East Lansing.






April 14th, 2013 at 2:28 PM ^

Sooo happy! This'll be so good for Michigan on the field and for the rest of our recruiting class, I can rub this in my sparty friends faces when they had to spart, and I won't have to hear wide receiver depth grumbles anymore. We already had potential playmakers who would "spread the field" but now we have one with star-power!


April 14th, 2013 at 1:59 PM ^

It would be cool if he could play basketball too. Obviously the games are different now and require a lot more focus, but you think about guys like Bennie Oosterbaan and Ron Kramer. I'd like to see it be done at Michigan today. Even if you aren't a starter on one of the teams, just being a multi-sport athlete is quite an accomplishment and can put someone in a very select class.


April 14th, 2013 at 7:04 PM ^

This reminds of the scene from The Waterboy where coach Red Beaulieu grips his stolen green notebook a little tighter after seeing highlights of the resurgent Muddogs on Sportscenter.




April 14th, 2013 at 9:55 PM ^

Can someone explain to me why they keep talking about Saban? Why would any recruit care if Dantonio is BFF with Saban? Does some percentgate of Saban's championships count as Dantonio's because they are friends?


April 15th, 2013 at 8:41 AM ^

That some of them think that they "own Michigan", or that they think they have a better chance to win championships with a 6-6 team that lost all of their best players.

You had a 4 year run that just so happened to be the worst 4 years in Michigan history, and two of those wins came down to the final 2 minutes.

The writing is on the wall, you're a sinking ship that has been relegated back to being a pain in the ass once or twice every decade.

You just had one of your best recruits decommit and commit somewhere else because he wanted to focus on football, what more do you need to know?


April 14th, 2013 at 2:22 PM ^

i come to read about Trey and see this headline at the bottom of the screen, have an audible gasp and just say WTF! to myself a couple times



April 14th, 2013 at 2:34 PM ^

Great player, and I know he was just being honest...But few have ever put the knife in spartie's gut and turned it this way and that like Drake Harris. Nothing hurts as much as destroying someone's illusions. Well done young man.


April 14th, 2013 at 2:41 PM ^

Im glad he choose us, better school for both athletics and academics...i just hope he is not one of those drama queens and likes too much attention..i guess ill believe it when i see him sign the letter, if he is a real wolverine