Kirkwood Mo., wide receiver/defensive back Andre Harris was part of the June gold rush of recruits for Iowa.
He picked Iowa on June 22, just minutes before Springboro (Ohio) High School offensive lineman Sean Welsh committed.
“I took a visit down there yesterday and I liked what I saw,” Harris told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder, who plays receiver and defensive back for Kirkwood (12-1 Missouri Class 5 runner-up last season) also had an offer from Illinois.
“It is kind of what my family thought was good for me,” he said. “I thought it was good for me and it was a good opportunity.”
Harris, who’s been timed at 4.42 seconds in the 40-yard dash, caught 22 passes for 288 yards and three touchdowns and had 29 tackles and four interceptions on defense, returning one pick for a touchdown, at Kirkwood his junior season.
The speedy Harris was a big contributor for Kirkwood’s 12-1 squad that finished as the Missouri Class 5 runner-up in 2011. His recruiting picked up in the offseason after he showed off his athleticism at camps and combines. Harris committed Iowa in late June after making an unofficial visit to the campus. He also received a scholarship offer from the University of Illinois.
“He’s had a really good offseason in the weight room and the classroom and was a track athlete for us as well and had a lot of success there,” Kirkwood coach Matt Irvin told the Post-Dispatch. “…Iowa offered him just off his film, which is really a rarity now, and I applaud them for recognizing his potential.”
Harris committed to Iowa the day after Vashon (St. Louis) High School’s Derrick Mitchell Jr. picked the Hawkeyes, giving Iowa St. Louis-area commits in back-to-back days.
Harris is definitely being brought in as a WR.
Scouting snippet (from ESPN.com)
The Positive: Displays a quick, aggressive release which forces defenders out of their back pedal; has the speed to get on top and separate when running deep routes; shows the ability to run the basic tree routes. His hands appear natural and strong; displays excellent concentration, making the high, out of the frame catch; demonstrates very good sideline awareness; is capable of extending to make the diving, layout catch; displays the courage needed to come inside and take a hit to secure the catch. Has a slashing running style with the lateral quickness needed to make defenders miss in space. Harris could see early situational playing time once settled into a permanent position.
The Pause: Nothing really. Lots of notes on Harris being a defensive back -- "Has the size and athletic for either position at the major level of competition. It appears his frame is capable of supporting additional bulk over time; his run support and tackling skills should allow him to be productive as a special team's coverage defender."
What Iowa said . . .
Recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson: “He was first-team all-state offense and defense. He's a guy we felt early on was a tremendous football player. He's one of those guys who can move around and make guys miss in space. When you're putting him in the slot, you can isolate him against a linebacker and do some of those inside routes that our offense likes to do. He showed some physicality on defense. You see the toughness on defense that tells you he's not scared to go across the middle. Very smart in the classroom, good kid, comes from a strong Kirkwood program. He was a captain on one of their very few if not first state championship teams."
The St. Louis area, is it considered SEC now with Missouri's move to that conference? "I think it's a little bit overblown. I think it helps us a little bit because, in my mind, parents want to see their kids play. It's hard to travel to SEC away games. It's a lot easier to travel to Big Ten away games in that area. The St. Louis area has always been more, even when Missouri was in the Big 12, a more Big Ten area. Kansas City has been more of a Big 12 area. I don't know if they consider the entire state an SEC area, but reading in their local papers, just like our guys, they think they need to get down to Florida and Georgia and beat those schools for those kids in those states. That's something they're not going to do in most parts. It's been an area that's been good to us recently.
What Rivals.com said . . .
From posts last summer on Harris' camp performances: “Athlete Andre Harris from Kirkwood (MO) in the St Louis metropolitan area was flying under the radar before attending camps this summer. Illini assistant Tim Salem was recruiting Harris prior to the camp in O'Fallon, but this was the first opportunity to see Harris live. Though on the small side at 5-foot-11, 157 pounds, Harris impressed with extremely quick feet in drills and a 4.4 forty time. His best position is likely CB, but he can play WR and returns kicks." And . . . "Illinois was aware of Harris, but didn't see him in person until the satellite camp in O'Fallon (Ill.) last week. Harris clocked at 4.42 forty time at the camp, and a very impressive 4.11 in the shuttle. It was enough for the Illini staff to extend a verbal scholarship offer." And . . . "Kirkwood High School has been playing football for 114 years, but the 2012 team with future Hawkeye Andre Harris was the first in school history to win a state championship. The undefeated Pioneers secured their spot in the record books with a 31-7 win over Fort Osage at the Edwards Jones Dome in St. Louis on Friday." And . . .
What I think (FWIW, obviously) . . .
Harris marks the new direction of Iowa's offense: A smaller, quicker than fast (maybe, in speedy Harris' case), works from the slot in and will be asked to extend plays with speed and elusiveness. The weight varies, seeing Rivals listing him at 157. If his body is ready, he might have a chance to see the field quickly. Then again, a lot of the point with a player like Harris is "catch me if you can."