“I’d been trying to get him to have that killer-type instinct,” Pinkney said. “Man, use that size, use all that ability to your advantage. All the sudden, he wasn’t saving anything. He was going all out.”
With game tape to back up his physical attributes, Harris began accumulating scholarship offers last winter, landing his coveted offer from USC in late February. He had become enamored with the Pacific-12 school watching Reggie Bush play for the Trojans, and Carter believed it was such a sure thing she began making plans to move to the West Coast to be closer to her oldest son.
But Harris took his time through the process and made his plan to graduate early before picking a school. During the summer he kept a strict schedule with a government class at Friendly in the morning and training sessions at Douglass in the afternoon before going to Suitland for an English course at night. Because he doesn’t have a driver’s license, Carter acted as her son’s chauffeur every step of the way.
“I missed grinding with my team — that was the biggest thing,” said Harris, who has 29 catches for 603 yards with eight total touchdowns this season. “I couldn’t be with them hardly at all, but I wanted them to know that I was working hard, too.”
Ultimately, Harris committed to Tennessee based on his close relationship with Darin Hinshaw, the team’s wide receivers coach.
Despite the continued interest from other programs, including a new offer from Miami last month, Harris said he won’t alter his plans as long as Hinshaw is retained on the incoming staff. Barring a change, he plans to fly to Tennessee on Jan. 2 and start classes the next week, beginning work toward a degree in sport management with a minor in religious history.
Then in late May, Harris will come back and walk in a high school graduation ceremony in front of the people that helped turn his dream of a scholarship into a reality.
“It was just a matter of [him] buying into our program and our colors and everything else,” Pinkney said. “He was from another school. Now he’s a Douglass kid.”