New Hurricanes coach Al Golden made quite an impression when he had his 50 minute conversation with players Monday night before his press conference.
Jordan Futch, Marcus Forston, Adewale Ojomo, Jacory Harris and Lamar Miller said they were all impressed with the strong message Golden delivered about winning national championships and taking this program to the next level.
One player who also enjoyed his meeting with Golden was cornerback Brandon Harris, who unlike the rest of UM's underclassmen is the most likely to bolt early for the NFL. So did Golden's first impression leave Harris feeling better about possibly coming back to UM?
"I can't lie, it definitely did," said Harris, who according to at least one mock NFL draft could go as early as the 15th overall pick next April.
"Leaving the room and after talking to a couple of the upcoming seniors and having a good time with those guys and talking about it and planning things out and where we can get better at, how we can make this team better, I really felt at home. I felt good about it."
So when will he make a real decision on coming back or going pro?
"After the bowl game that's when its really going to set in. Right now it's still kind of all talk. To me, I still can't believe its an opportunity," Harris said. "After the bowl game, the decision will really have to be made. I haven't given much thought to it, fantasizing about it of course because you want to play in the NFL. But serious thought? I never really thought about it. I never thought I would be in this position as a junior to leave early. It's definitely exciting. I know after the bowl game a lot of things are going to pick up, a lot of phone calls will be made. We'll just go from there."
Will he talk to other juniors on the team about it and will their decisions affect him? "We kind of talk about it every now and then," Harris said. "We understand at this level everybody has to make the best decision for themselves. Everybody comes from different situations and different backgrounds. Everybody has different morals on the decisions they're making. Each guy is different. But we do talk about it and do voice our opinions. They'll definitely have a say-so in my opinion and hopefully my opinion matters to them."
Either way, Harris said he will be sending a request into the NFL to see where he could end up going. What will he weigh?
"Ultimately, its going to be about if I feel the opportunity presents itself to be a top NFL pick or coming back, maturing my game a little bit, playing with my teammates for another year. It obviously wouldn't hurt. It would help me," Harris said. "If It's something you can't turn away from, then obviously it's a different situation. Everything is up in the air and in the wind. I definitely want to be here, I want to continue playing here and I don't have a problem with it.
"If your not going to be a guaranteed first round pick, I don't think I would consider leaving at all. I would love to come back and play for another year. If it's not a guarantee, sure thing I wouldn't even think about it. Even if it isn't guaranteed, it's still something I'm going to weigh my options on coming back and maturing myself a little more as a player and as a person. Either way it goes, I'm still going to look into it, weigh the pros and cons of it and talk to a couple guys who have been in the situation and made the decision and see what they say."
Will the future of his father, Tim Harris, who is currently on the staff, affect his decision?
"Not at all. It's a business. We both understand that," Harris said. "By him being here obviously its great having him here. It would be different with him not here. But he's still not my coach at this level. He's not my position coach. Having him around the building is fine. He brings a little relaxation to the whole room and to the team and all that. But that definitely won't have no impact on my decision at all."