Wise All-Met Antonio Harris traveled north over the weekend for his official visit to Massachusetts with mild expectations. If the 6-foot-4, 310-pound lineman wasn’t sold on the Minutemen, he was ready to stay close to home and pick Towson.
By Sunday morning, Harris had come to his decision. Before heading back to Prince George’s County, he offered his oral commitment in person to U-Mass. Coach Charley Molnar. He plans to make it official next Wednesday on National Signing Day.
“I went up there this weekend and U-Mass. blew my mind,” Harris said by phone with a chuckle. “Last year they had a rough year in their first year [in the Football Bowl Subdivision.] They need people, and I want to be part of what they’re building. I saw other people committing, and I figured I’d better hurry up.”
Harris helped Wise win its first Maryland 4A title this season, starting both ways as the Pumas finished a perfect 14-0 and outscored their opponents, 547-50. He earned All-Met honors for his offensive work, anchoring a line that paved the way for the team to average 245 rushing yards per game.
Fellow lineman Jai Franklin (Old Dominion) is the other Wise player expected to sign a national letter of intent next week.
“It’s been a great year, but it’s been a stressful year,” Harris said. “When you win the state championship and you have school on top of that, it’s the hardest thing to do. It’s fun when you win it and get to celebrate at the end, but until you do, it’s stressful, especially when you’ve never won it before.”
At U-Mass., Harris said he expects to play defense, but he added that he became comfortable with both coordinators and position coaches during his stay this weekend. Earlier this month, Bullis defensive end Peter Angeh orally committed to the Minutemen.
Harris said he’ll talk further with the college coaches and Wise Coach DaLawn Parrish before coming to a final decision on his college position. During his high school career, he started all four years on offense and just the past two years on defense.
While Harris said he’d accumulated 13 offers in total, he waited until the high school season ended with a state final victory over Quince Orchard at M&T Bank Stadium on Nov. 30 before launching into his recruitment in earnest. He made his first official visit to Towson in December and checked out Buffalo two weeks ago, but U-Mass. surged to the front of the pack this weekend during his final scheduled visit.
“It’s a family environment there just like it was at Towson,” Harris said. “I really loved Towson, but U-Mass. just felt like it was home for me.”