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Catching up with Jacory Harris

Before setting off for the Florida Sports Writers Association college coaches meetings in Tampa this weekend, I caught up with UM quarterback recruit Jacory Harris Friday afternoon to discuss his week-long trip out to California for the EA Sports Elite 11 Quarterback Camp.

JacoryharrisAs reporters, we're not supposed to have favorite players to interview. But I can't help but feel good everytime I speak to Miami Northwestern's leader. Jacory is quite honestly the type of kid you root for because he's a shining example of what the other kids who come from the rough streets of Liberty City should strive to be. He's an excellent student with a 3.4 GPA who takes honors classes, a tremendous leader who has held his team together through Northwestern's recent troubles and one heck of a quarterback. He proved that this week in the mountains in Mission Viejo, finishing fourth among 12 of the nation's most talented quarterback recruits in the Class of 2008 based on the opinions of guys like Joe Montana, Heisman candidates Colt Brennan (Hawaii), Chad Henne (Michigan) and many other talented camp counselors.

Harris, rated a three-star recruit by both Rivals and Scout.com, is sure to climb up the recruiting rankings soon. But even that won't do him justice in terms of value. The fact Miami was able to nab him away from LSU (his admitted first true love) has ultimately resulted in the Canes getting his more highly -soughtafter teammates WR Aldarius Johnson and DT Marcus Forston this week. Both love Jacory and gravitate towards him as their leader and are only following him to Miami because offensive coordinator Patrick Nix and company stood by his side when most so-called experts have had their doubts about a 6-4, 170-pound gunslinger being nothing more than the typical "athletic quarterback." Harris got rid of that stereotype this week and UM is richer for having believed in him before he proved it to the rest of the world.

To get an idea of what the camp counselors thought of Jacory, here is what former Tennessee quarterback Tee Martin said of Harris in an interview with Student Sports Magazine.

Tee Martin on Jacory Harris: Tee_martin"To me, he would be the guy I would take if I could pick just one quarterback here," Martin said. "I think his upside is off the charts. He throws a great ball, has a quick release and his ability to throw rolling out is unreal. For me though, he brings so much more to the table than just how he plays. He's the guy that pumps up everyone else in the group he's throwing with. If one of the guys makes a good throw, he's yelling encouragement to him. He challenges the other guys to try and complete 10 balls in a row and if they do, he says, 'lets get 20.' Even at the beach, all the guys were playing volleyball just having fun but when Jacorey went over there, it instantly became very competitive. Then he went over to the basketball court and dominated there. I just love the kid and feel he could be special."

Harris scored 13 points in the passing skills competitions on accuracy from various passing distances. He placed eighth overall in the points standings. But his ability to throw on the run earned him the best feet award.

Harris, who was the first quarterback from Miami-Dade or Broward ever to compete in the prestigous camp, told me he had a ball out in California. In addition to the camp, he played beach volleyball, had a dunk competition with Star Jackson, a one-on-one receiving showdown with camp MVP and Nebraska bound Blaine Gabbert (who has 4.4-speed) and even a scary moment when he was tossed by 15 foot waves back onto the beach at Laguna Beach. In addition to all that, he came home with an autographed football and plenty of memories.

Anyway, I want to share with you some of the highlights of our half-hour Q&A session Friday. Our complete interview has been uploaded to Herald.com for your listening pleasure. Follow this link.

Q: What was the experience like?
A: "It was a wonderful experience because I got to meet a lot of people that I didn't know from across the nation. It was all great athletes and great players. It was a great opportunity. It was held at an All-Asian University in Mission Viejo. I had never been out to California, but the view was real pretty. It was something that I would be glad to move there one day."

Q: But not before before you finish college right?
A: "No. After college (laughter)."

Q: So what exactly was the competition like? Who did you meet? Who impressed you? And how do you think you did?
A: "There were 12 quarterbacks in the competition. We had to do footwork drills, good ball/bad ball, 7-on-7, we had chalk and film. We had those type of drills and I finished fourth... to pick one quarterback as the MVP would be unfair. I was telling my mother that we all were basically the same people. The way Jemarcus_russellwe act, the way we carry ourselves on the field. I'm usually going to say I am the best quarterback. But your ego changes when you get up there and you see the competition. When I started the competition, I didn't ever think I'd be able to sit in those same seats those same great players -- Chris Leak, JeMarcus Russell, Troy Smith -- once sat in. That really shocked me. Plus, when the counselors told us at the beginning of the camp we were projected to be one of the worst group of quarterbacks to ever come to the Elite 11 according to Scout.com, Rivals and all that, we came into the camp with a chip on our shoulders and more confidence than ever. It turns out the last day, Colt Brennan, Andre Woodson and all them told us we were the best group ever because everybody there was good. They said the past Elite 11 camps had 3 or 4 people who couldn't throw the ball. But they said everyone here [this year] had something and could do something on the next level."

Q: I heard you spent a lot extra time breaking down film on your own with some of the coaches, late into the night. What made you want to do that?
A: "Me, [FSU QB recruit] EJ Manuel and [Lake Worth High] Star [Jackson] would go down there. Sometimes it was me by Colt_brennanmyself. But sometimes we'd go down and look at film and break it down so that in the morning when he would ask us questions we knew what he was going ask us. One of the guys we were worked out with that I really learned from was Colt Brennan from Hawaii. He had been through somethings himself and showed that no matter what, you got to work through some things if you want to accomplish that bigger goal. [Missouri quarterback] Chase Daniels was somebody I hung out with too because he played for Southlake Carroll [whom Northwestern plays Sept. 15 in Dallas] and we were too busy trash-talking about that. We went on the board and broke down coverages and he would show me what he would do. It was a lot of things, but I took something from every counselor that was there."

Q: How much of the stuff you saw were you familiar with, and unfamiliar with?
A: "I was familiar with the majority of the stuff. But the language, that's kind of what was throwing me off. But when I was looking at things it was kind of the same stuff I see here in Florida, but some of it was on a college level, the linebackers dropping way back and doing certain things. I learned a lot looking at tendencies and other things I took from that film session."

Q: For some of the Canes fans who might be hearing you for the first time, just tell them when you started playing quarterback for the first time and how it all came about.
A: "I started playing QB my ninth grade year when as a receiver I was running a route and the quarterback through the ball behind me. got pretty mad and I took that opportunity and grabbed a ball and threw a strike. And that's when they said you need to play quarterback."

Q: Last night, before you got home your teammate Marcus Forston became the Marcus_forstonfourth Northwestern player to commit to UM. Were you surprised he announced this early? And what does it mean to have four of you guys going to school together?
A: "I wasn't that surprised because he had told me when I committed he was going to do it right when I do it. So, I did it and I called him and he was like 'No man, I'm not ready for that yet.' But I always knew because before this week they were talking about how it was going to happen soon. So, I was just waiting for it to happen. I really wasn't surprised... But it's great because now all we got to do is take what we have here and transfer it to Miami and basically do the same thing we're doing here at Miami. I think we can win some national championships there."

Q: When did your love affair with the Canes really begin and when did you really know you were going to be a UM quarterback?
A: "I really wanted to go to LSU at first even though I was a die-hard Cane because I wanted to go out of state and that was the team I was hoping to get an offer from. But then, I thought about it and I was like let me wait to see if I get a Miami offer. I did. Then, I weighed them out. Then, LSU stopped talking to me. So, I said I'm going to go with my obvious choice, my home team -- and the team I want to be at, so why not choose it."

Q: Now, there's a chance after this Elite 11 camp, some teams might come after you, maybe even LSU. Is your recruiting done with?
A: "Yeah my recruiting is done with. I'm going to Miami no matter what."

Q: Can you talk about your relationship with Patrick Nix and what it was that impressed you about him? And what about your relationship with coach Shannon and the rest of UM's staff?
A: "He's a real down to earth person and he's real cool. He'll tell you the truth, really. He's someone you can hang out with. He tells me 'We're married.' We're real cool. He went bowling the other day with the offense, so you know he's real down to earth. The relationship with coach Shannon is real good because he knows my father. They played against each other in high school. My daddy played for Northwestern in '84 and played against Randy at Norland."

Q:  Seven months ago, this program was coming off a bad season in which they went 7-6, they had the Bryan Pata tragedy, the brawl with FIU, what has Randy done to get 16 commitments this early Shannon_this_is_my_turfin the game --  and 16 good ones at that? What do you think Coach Shannon has done to change the image of Miami?
A: "I really don't know. Coach Shannon is real cool. The way he recruited as a defensive coordinator, he's the same as a head coach. He'll treat you the same no matter what. The things he has in place, the 2.5 GPA to live off campus, you can tell he's for the student athlete look. He's not just about football. He's about books before football and that's the way a coach should always be. A coach should never be about football over education or football over family. And that's the type of coach Shannon is."

Q: Is that something you think kids in the innercity really want, a father figure? You grew up with a good father, good parents, but a lot of your teammates and others don't have fathers in their lives. Do you think coach Shannon being that father figure, laying the discipline down is what has made him popular with a lot of recruits?
A: "Yes because without that, you'll have those guys running around and getting in trouble all the time. And that's just made the difference... there are a lot of other programs that will be like UM is only taking you because they're trying to get the rest of [Northwestern's players]. And when I hear that, I'll be like OK, so why are you telling me this? I know you're trying to get me. Why are you trying to down Miami? I haven't heard coach Shannon or any of his assistants ever say anything. They never even talk about other schools. They talk about us and how we're doing in life. They never talk about football, except how we're going to do our senior year."

Q: Why do you think that approach has been so successful?
A: "Because it makes you feel good because you know now somebody is going to have your back. Nobody is going to do anything behind your back and they're going to do what's best for the child."


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shun sunsentinel!

Manny...you've been working hard these last couple of days! Great interviews, breaking stories, getting and giving love from/to the Legion, you're gonna need a nap!

Nice piece on Jacory. The battle will be intense next year at QB with Marve, Harris and the Texas kid who many say could be the "sleeper" and the steal of the year...

hey 86Cane, update your stats : )

Great read Manny,

Jacory sounds like a class-act. I'm glad the coaches used their gut feeling and offered him early.

Good luck to the Bulls this season, I know I'm gonna root for them this year.

"there are a lot of other programs that will be like UM is only taking you because they're trying to get the rest of [Northwestern's players]. And when I hear that, I'll be like OK, so why are you telling me this? I know you're trying to get me. Why are you trying to down Miami?"
This kid was born to be a Hurricane. Good luck to you this year, Jacory. Go Canes!!!!

After i saw the state championship game on Sun Sports , i couldn't believe how strong an arm this kid is got and especially how accurate. He was hitting people in stride, it was beautiful.

this is a great thing for the U. im really glad to hear this kid has got a good head on his shoulder. and the battles are goin to be feirce w/ him and marve.

Jacory sounds like as down-to-earth a player as you'll find in a 17 year old. I hope he and the Bulls stick it to the slow, held-back-a-year to be a year bigger, HS obsessed rednecks out in Southlake Carrol. I think he could give Chase Daniel a run for his money right now as stick thin as he is at this point, three to four years from now, there will be no comparison between the two.

Nice interview, he seems like a great kid.

Also glad to hear all the negative recruiting is making other schools look bad.

Marcus Forston and Jacory both mentioned how other schools are talking bad about Miami and praised Miami for not doing to same to other schools.

Finally, recruiting QB’s that are true leaders………were back on top! Good interview Manny.

Good interview Manny. I can't wait for Jacory to get here -- we're going to have some great QB battles in the future with Harris and Marve.

Now 86Cane you are saying that Taylor Cook
our QB from Texas might be the steal of the year...Earlier this week you were laughing at me when i wrote on Canespace that Cook
might be a great one at UM...We will have
excellent competition at the QB position in 2008...Now let's get Julio Jones and co.

Thanks, Manny for giving us such a great insight. I look forward to seeing him this coming year. It's nice to see he such a student of the game.........

Montreal...you made me to see error of my ways. I've been doing some research and asking some people who really know stuff and they agree withn you.

All I know is it is gonna be fun next year having FOUR QBs battling for the starting position instead of 1 (1/2 for KW and 1/2 for KF).

You will have Marve, Harris, Cook (not Glenn, who will do the dishes according to Zakkee) and of course my boy Freeman. Now THAT will be intersting.

And maybe, just maybe if we are really lucky, 9 O'Clock (Sharpe) can get a 11th year of eligibility and play next year at CB too!

Thanks Manny, brought tears to my eyes when I hear a Kid makes good. I really hope these kids get their degrees first and foremost before football. I know I know about winning and all at the U but with these much talent a smart and well rounded student athlete will not only think and perform better on the field but rep the U in a manner to make Us proud -- and their moms too because the moms have a lot of say which the kids go for College.

That's funny 86!! Good post Manny. Shaping up to be a great rucruiting class. There was a great article about how the Canes don't trash talk any other schools. I like that. We don't talk trash because we know we're the baddest!

Let's keep it up


A quick request... It would be awesome if we could download those audio interviews. Would love to be able to listen to them on my iPod.

Keep up the good work!


Manny... I have to give you your props...

You have taken this blog to another level.. Great interviews the last few days..

I really really appreciate it..

Keep up the good work!!

Great interview Manny. This young man will definitely be one of the U's great QBs.

Keep up the good work. The Legion's lovin' it.

Excellent piece Manny. I was very impressed with Jacory. A very, personalable and engaging young man. Glad to hear he's solid to UM. He's going to make the Legion proud.

Great interview, Manny! Jacory is in high school? I wish I had half of his maturity when I wsa his age. What a class act. He'll go far with the Canes and beyond. I'll be rooting for him as a person and as a player. I also love hearing about the commitment to education and family with the football team. Randy's really settig his priorities correctly and that will pay dividends both in the lives of the players and for the program.

Randy, is about the education and family 1st. A coach that cares about the kids.

Manny great interview.


MANNY...We are getting a lot of skill position players. How are we on the OL for the future. And what's up with Shaw from Pace. Is he following Willie to Louisville?
I think Patchman is a lock, but you never know.

Thanks Man!

Manny...can you track down any of the four LBs that have verbally committed?

And who in your opinion is still on the fence from the list you posted and may be the hardest recruit to get?

Great to read that Harris did well at the camp. Seems that THE U will have some healty competion at QB next year once KW is gone

Damn Manny your on point, keep up the good work!!!

thanks manny. great content.

Cane4Life, great pick up on the O-line..we need protection for all this talent. Can't wait for 2008 to arrive to watch Bailey, Marve, Forston et al.

Manny, nice reporting, whether it's news of a great pick-up or not..you and Susan M-D are a refreshing change...no agendas, no chip on shoulder, no "its all about me". Well done.
'86: keep bringin' it. THe more the better!

Alpha...let's share some of the Vault with Manny:

Are you gonna back off your 8-4 season prediction that you made (it's in the vault) or are willing to up it any at this point? And then you had this one:

"Oh, and one other missive: Cooper outshines James if he stays healthy."
Posted by: AlpharettaCane | June 14, 2007 at 21:05

I think Cook might be a good QB but Jacory is a leader and we saw what that did for Ken Dorsey!!!

Marve, Harris and Cook. They can't all play. Clearly Matve and Harris atre both class acts and leaders. All will share three season togther. Who plays? Who is the QB of the future?

86cane you did insult me with le tour de France but for your own culture it has nothing to do with Canada...And did you know that many Canadians played for the Canes and won national championships please do some research before you try to insult your friends north of the border...Now i am glad that you know A bit about Taylor Cook who will be a better version of Ken Dorsey whom i liked very much with the Canes...And you will see Jacory will be a better version of Crudup...muh more confident and a better passer...No offense 86Cane...Respect

Wow great job!! Although I'm a Jackson General c/o 85, I think I love this kid!! Go Canes!!!

Montreal...no offense taken, you made some valid points. Respect!

The refernce I made to Le Tour de France had nothing to do with Canada, it was about doping allegations. Surely you can't be arguing that? I have repsect for the event and think it is an incredible event through a beautiful Country that tests man's endurance to the limit. But the doping allegations have marred the sport and the Tour this year and in years past, that cannot be denied.

It was only a joking reference anyway related to SolarCane and his remarkable bloggin ability on Canespace. People alledged he was on "the juice" because he was so fast at answering trivia questions and winning prizes left and right!

And, I am aware that several Canadians have played for the Canes and won NCs too! Now, lets throw the ball back into your court and see if you can name them ALL? Better do your research on this one...

I will let you do that but to give you a clue 2 of them were the best center we have ever had...Have a good day!

A son of a legend helped Montreal win over Toronto in the Canadian Football League thursday night in a regular season game...
Jarrett Payton a former Cane and the son of
Walter Payton rushed for a little less than 100 yards despite 2 injuries...Jarrett had his best season with the Canes as a senior rushing just under 1000 yards and helped the Canes win their bowl in 2003...After
Jarrett Payton played In the NFL for the titans...

Montreal...don't back out on me now! If you are gonna bring it you gotta put in your time and do the research. Where's that Candian pride now? Let it motivate you!!!

Put it to work and tell us how many Canadians have played on the Hurricanes and have won national championships?

Manny...have fun in Tampa at the conference and bring us the news we can use.

Tell Shannon the Legion says: Go Canes!

Tell Urban Cryer that we are gonna pay him a visit in 2008 and that he needs to FEAR this!

See you around here and at Canespace...

Great article Manny. I appreciate the time and effort you have put into these articles.

I'm happy to learn Jacory has a 3.4, and takes honors classes. He has put together an impessive resume. It is no surprise why so many of his friends gravitate towards him, i.e. Aldarious Johnson.

Keep it comin'

After going to Norman on 9-8 to watch UM take down OK,I can't wait till 9-15 to see the future canes play SLC. Don't underestimate Southlake. It is a very rich school district ( no rednecks!) that hires the best coaches and pays them. All schools in the district from elementary school on feed into SLC ( only High School) and all play the same system. It will be very interesting to see if the obvious superior talent at NW will prevail

I love how people talk smack about the Canes... they have always envied us... so its no surprise.. as for florida i wouldnt be surprised if we play them soon...so we can spot them 30 points just to score the last 50 and show them why were the Canes!!!!!

Nice work Manny - get after it!!! This IV is well done and provides a tremendous feeling of anticipation for Canes fans. However, talk is cheap and until Jacory, et. al., have signed the dotted line - I'm not going to allow myself to get too revved up. Let's just hope Canes fans keep showing their recent level of positivity & excitement about the changes rather than the absurd negativity that was rampant last year.

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