Commentary

Opportunities opening up for Harris

Originally Published: March 4, 2010
By Jc Shurburtt | ESPN Recruiting

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. -- One of the top defensive line prospects in Palm Beach County and a pair of promising Class of 2012 prospects highlight the talent pool at Boynton Beach High School.

ESPNU 150 Watch List defensive end Johnathan Harris has offers from Miami and South Carolina. Tennessee, Florida State, Central Florida and Alabama, among others, are also showing interest in the 6-foot-4, 215-pounder.

[+] EnlargeHarris
Gerry HamiltonJohnathan Harris has the opportunity to put up some eye-popping numbers this season.

Boynton Beach head coach Rick Swain and his staff played Harris at a closed end position on their defense last season, which in Boynton Beach's 3-5 scheme means he lined up on the tight end side. Harris recorded eight sacks, despite having to take on more blockers than the open end (which was Class of 2010 prospect Marcus Bean, who coincidently tallied 21 sacks last season), where Harris will play in 2010.

"He's got unlimited potential with is body type and his work ethic," Swain said. "He's not going to do anything but continue to get better and better, and he's already pretty good. He comes to practice and works hard every day. He hates to lose and is a competitor. We feel like this year with him being an open end, his numbers in terms of sacks are really going to increase. This 3-5 is sort of a funny deal as it gives us the ability to turn loose some athletes off the edge and [Harris] was always that guy we could count on to anchor the line of scrimmage. It made him real tough."

The Hurricanes, who are recruiting Harris as a defensive end, have a clear early advantage.

"They are closer to home," Harris said. "So that's an advantage for them. They have been able to come see me play and I've been able to go see them play as well. I grew up a Miami fan. My dad was a Hurricane fan. That's why they are up near the top."

Harris also plans to attend a Miami spring practice in the near future. When he returns to Coral Gables, he wants to check out the academic side of the university. Though the Canes are clearly the team to beat, Harris stopped short of saying that he would commit early because he wants to be sure of his decision.

"I don't want to be one of those guys that switches my commitment," Harris said.

Harris also plays basketball and runs track for Boynton Beach, and his basketball season just ended. Now he is getting ready for track and for spring work in the weight room.

"I am in track, trying to get faster," he said. "I am also in the weight room, trying to go hard. I think I need to work on my explosion off the ball and breaking down to make a play."

In track, Harris is running long distance to get in shape and build his endurance. He also is working on improving his bench-press max.

Harris impressed at the Miami Under Armour combine Feb. 21 in Davie, Fla. He even ran a 4.56 short shuttle, showing off his athleticism, and also was impressive during one-on-one drills.

Two for 2012

Swain also sang the praises of Class of 2012 jumbo athlete DeCarreus Mason. The 6-4, 245-pounder is a standout basketball player thanks to his excellent feet and long arms, but he also has a big upside on the gridiron. This coming football season, Mason will play the closed end position that Harris manned last year. However, he could end up on the other side of the ball in the long run.

"He's going to end up being a bigger player than [Harris] coming out of high school," Swain said. "I could see him being a blue-chip left tackle."

Another rising junior with FBS potential is linebacker Audrey Dreujuste. He is one of the strongest players on the team, with a bench-press max of 325 pounds.

JC Shurburtt covers recruiting for ESPN.com. He can be reached at jcsespn@aol.com.