With all the commitments that have occurred in the past ten days, one was bound to get a little less attention than the others. However, we at TOC Inc. are remedying this oversight now, so let's take a gander at Darien Harris, a 6'1", 210 lb. outside linebacker from Hyattsville, Maryland. Harris chose the Spartans over offers from Duke, Illinois, Purdue, Syracuse, and a host of non-BCS schools. He is the 13th player to join MSU's 2011 football recruiting class, and as always, here are his ratings:
RIVALS: 3* (5.6 rating), #36 OLB, #10 Overall in Maryland
SCOUT: 3*, #42 Safety
ESPN: 79 grade, #30 OLB
Harris has a profile very similar to that of the most recent commitment, Ed Davis. Both are consensus mid-three star outside linebackers, and speedy ones at that -- Harris has been timed in the 40 at 4.45 seconds, which HOLY CRAP if that time's legit, but I'm a bit wary. With no times in track & field to compare his 40 time to, I'm going to have to go off the word of recruiting gurus. Here's Si.com's Kristian Dyer on Harris's performance in a 7-on-7 event this past February:
One of the most impressive performers on a stacked Maryland team was linebacker Darien Harris out of DeMatha High in Hyattsville, Md. Harris looks far more solid than his 6-2, 225-pound listing, and Harris showed good mobility and recovery speed. He even registered an interception in one of the games for Maryland 1 on Saturday morning, reading the ball well and breaking to the pass nimbly. He also used his long arms to provide tight coverage and jam open space.
That's reason to believe that Harris could move to strong safety or a safety/linebacker hybrid position (otherwise known as the STAR spot in MSU's defense). Here's what Harris told LSJ intern Dan Kilbridge about this possibility:
"I think it would suit me well. ... I'm used to playing in space, covering receivers and that's what I'm able to do, so that's definitely a position I'm looking forward to playing.
Chris Norman is currently listed as the starter at STAR, with redshirt freshman Denicos Allen behind him. The STAR spot is definitely a possibility for Harris, but if he keeps his speed, I would think that strong safety would suit him as well. I was a bit concerned when I heard that State was taking another linebacker instead of a defensive back or linemen, but with Harris's flexibility, he'll make a fine addition to the class wherever he plays.
One last benefit -- Harris's high school, DeMatha Catholic, is a powerhouse in high school football. Harris is the fifth player from the school this year to go to a BCS school, and that's not including offensive lineman Cyrus Kouandjio, Dematha's highest ranked player and a five-star recruit. While State may not succeed in getting the big body, they'll still be set up will to recruit future classes in Maryland.