Hello: Drake Harris

Submitted by Ace on 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.


Michael Scarn

April 14th, 2013 at 3:24 PM ^

Kid only decommitted because he decided he didn't want to play basketball - just football.  Then made a pretty quick decision on a football school.  I see zero drama.  The "I want to look at football powerhouses (aka not msu)" comment is just some fun salt in the wounds for Sparty fans.


April 14th, 2013 at 3:15 PM ^

I've watched numerous of Drake's HS games, and the kid's initial acceleration that he gets is unreal.  He will be the deep threat that Michigan has been looking for for a long time.


April 14th, 2013 at 3:18 PM ^

"Ferns to the strong side"?

Seems like we are looking very hard for a SAM to complete this class of linebackers, so Ferns is most likely seen as an inside LB.


April 14th, 2013 at 3:24 PM ^

Great news, and welcome to the fold.  Looks like a lot of those elite HS WRs - a little lanky and growing into his body, but should be able to put on the weight and dominate after a year or two.  Will be fun seeing him and Morris for a couple of years.


April 14th, 2013 at 3:24 PM ^

I was really hoping we would land Harris even more after hearing his father speak following his decommitment from State.  I was very impressed by what his father said.  They seem to be a grounded family with their priorities straight.  We are getting a high character kid who will represent Michigan Football in a positive manner both on and off the field. 

Absolutely great news!



April 14th, 2013 at 3:28 PM ^

I LOVE that in his State Championship highlight package, the still screen photo has a Sparty final score of 26-10 on the bottom line.... Coincidence??? I think not!


April 14th, 2013 at 3:36 PM ^

Hoke and Company got an elite WR, in a few years seeing Morris throwing deep fades to Harris. I love him even more he decommited from our Lil Sisters Spartans and wants to wear the wing helmet and win National Championships.


April 14th, 2013 at 3:40 PM ^

This could be a case where Denard's injury was a blessing in disguise.  While his absence hurt our running game, our downfield passing game improved with Gardner at QB and Gallon's production soared down the stretch.  That allowed Hoke & Co. to show recruits that they could, in fact, come here and put up big receiving numbers.


April 14th, 2013 at 3:45 PM ^

I can't wait to see him with an elite QB throwing to him, as well. His HS QB doesn't look BAD, but he has to wind up and throw rainbows for anything over 25 yards. For a deep threat like Harris, a DIV I QB that can throw 40 yard frozen ropes will be a huge blessing. When he doesn't have to slow up to get that ball, his ability to adjust on the fly will mean everything.


April 14th, 2013 at 6:27 PM ^

GRC's HS QB was all-state last year and was very accurate.  This fall, it will be a question-mark in terms of who will be the GRC QB.  It probably won't be someone near as good as last years QB, and so Harris's overall numbers might be a tad down this fakk.


April 14th, 2013 at 4:18 PM ^

No doubt he flipped from UM to OSU, but that was a kid from Ohio who didn't have an OSU offer and hadn't visited the Buckeyes before he committed to us (in fact, he hadn't visited AA either). We were his first offer and he jumped on it, then changed his mind when his recruiting blew up.

A fair flip, no doubt, but a very different situation for sure. It was like us flipping Delano Hill from Iowa. When he picked Iowa, M wasn't an option, so once it was, he picked us. Those are less a "flip" as new options opening up.

Drake had an OSU offer and had visited OSU before he committed. A flip is far less likely in this case.


April 14th, 2013 at 6:58 PM ^

My personal favorite(s), coming from the more intellectual posters, of course (TOO MANY TO COUNT, AMIRITE?!), are the "Hoke is obviously only negative recruiting MSU", "Who would want to play for Hoke over Dantonio?", "It's like a Big Ten King > MAC peasant", "I hope he gets injured, I don't care" kind of comments. You see it like every other post.


All I'd like to say is this nucky's had it up to here with it. Have a nice day, and Go Blue fergodsake.


April 15th, 2013 at 9:32 AM ^

If you read through the thread referenced, the RCMB are insinuating that Michigan is cheating and that is why the recruiting has been so solid.   They can't believe that any recruit would come to Michigan these days, and I quote, "when there is smoke, there is fire".  Some of the delusional ones are convinced Michigan is rampantly cheating to reel in the recruits.  If some of the posts don't totally piss you off, it is a humorous read. 


April 15th, 2013 at 11:30 AM ^

I mean I know the NCAA doesnt give a rats ass about cheating but seriously our BBall program has finally clawed its way out of hell after the past 20 years sooooo lets all put our logical thinking hats on and yeah, I dont think a school that had 1 of 2 major mens (and revenue generating)  sports, is seriously going to have another scandal involving pay for play.


Perkis-Size Me

April 14th, 2013 at 4:16 PM ^

Wait, guys, this can't be right. Hoke can't close on elite recruits, right?

Yeah, Dantonio. There's the threat. Go back to lying in the weeds. There's plenty of two-star talent for you to find there.


April 14th, 2013 at 4:36 PM ^

Still a long time until signing day and let's be real here, he committed and decommitted to one school aready, so it's definitely a possiblity. That doesn't always mean anything negative, just means sometimes kids make decisions early. Look at how the whole Dawson recruitment turned out.


April 14th, 2013 at 5:05 PM ^

Do recruiting services ever give players a "star bump" for changing a commitment from one team to another that has a higher level talent base?

If a player chooses to surrond himself with higher level recruits, in theory, he would immediately increase his own stock and abilitiy to perform.  It is afterall a team game and I wonder if the star system accounts for that, especially at positoin like WR.    




April 14th, 2013 at 6:33 PM ^

He has solely committed to playing football, and he switched his original commitment from State to a Michigan team, that on paper, has a significantly better QB, RB, OL, TE, Coordinator and WR situation.  

IMO, I think he has a much bigger ceiling and is a better prospect now that he is with Michigan.  5 please.  




April 14th, 2013 at 6:51 PM ^

You're right.  Actually, maybe we should bump him down to 3 Stars because he was committed to State in the first place.  Clearly the recruiting sites need to take into account bad decision making.  

Just kidding, this kids awesome and everyone should get the chance to change their mind and pick better college situations.    



April 14th, 2013 at 5:24 PM ^

Desmond(sporting a backwards ball cap): Sorry to hear about Drake Harris, he would have been a huge recruit for you guys.

Bump(In his throwback Charles Rogers jersey): What a bunch of crap. I bet if he'd wanted to compete for a championship in BASKETball he would have picked MSU

(Last shot from behind, we see that Desmond has put his arm around Bump's shoulder, and it is revealed that Desmond is wearing his Final 4 hat)

Desmond: You got me there old buddy. You got me there.