Damien Harris, ranked as the nation’s top running back recruit, has decided not to enroll early, he told ESPNU during the telecast of the Madison Southern (Berea, Ky.) vs. Pulaski County (Somerset, Ky.) game. That decision could delay his plans to announce his college destination Dec. 12.
“I decided that I wanted to enroll early at first. But I was thinking on that decision,” he said during a halftime interview. “I talked with my mom, my family, my coaches, and we just decided that wasn’t what was best for me. So with my decision being pushed back, that will give me more time and opportunity to take other official visits.”
Harris has plans to visit Alabama this weekend and has a visit scheduled to Texas A&M on Nov. 15, but he has been a regular at Kentucky games. Harris has attended four of five home games and is expected back for the Oct. 29 game against No. 1 Mississippi State. The campus is about a 20-minute drive from his home, but he said his presence there shouldn’t signify anything about his future.
“At first, they kind of weren’t (on my radar), he said. “But Coach (Mark) Stoops – his first stop as a coach, he came to see me. He just told me, ‘Let me recruit you. Give me an opportunity to prove that we can turn things around – that we can change the program.’ So, I kind of took what he said into consideration. I took it from there, and here we are in this process.”
Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell says he thinks Kentucky is going to be able to keep Harris in state.
“I think they’re going to get him. I really do,” Farrell told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “I feel confident with the ties he has to the program. … If Damien was a guy who had said, ‘I want to get out of state,’ or if he was sort of a stargazer that had to go to a major program, then I would think differently. But I don’t think he’s that type of kid. I think he’s really interested in staying home and playing for Kentucky and trying to take that to a different level.”
Harris’ last two visits to Kentucky were with him on crutches after a knee injury suffered in a loss to Southwestern two weeks ago. He did not play in the nationally televised loss to Pulaski County and is expected to be out 3-4 week with a sprained medial collateral ligament.
“It’s a process,” Madison coach Jon Clark told the Lexington Herald Leader recently. “It’s one of those deals where how long he’s going to be out depends on how he heals. We just have to wait and see, but he’s OK. He doesn’t need surgery or anything.”
Harris, however, tweeted Tuesday morning that he was attending practice.