Parkway senior quarterback, Brandon Harris, is making his first trip to Auburn for an unofficial visit over the next three days. Auburn, along with LSU and Ohio State, are the three college teams Harris narrowed down his list to last week.
The fact that Harris put Auburn on his short list without even stepping foot on campus says a lot about head coach Gus Malzahn and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee's ability to recruit. Auburn was by all accounts "late to the party" as far as the recruiting process went for Harris. According to Harris, he had a grand total of 42 offers. Auburn was one of the last few teams to show interest in the quarterback. Lashlee was one of a dozen or so coaches to show up to Parkway's spring game. To be one of Harris' final three choices after recruiting him this late in the game shows just how enticing the situation is for Harris at Auburn.
If you think about it, the reasons are quite simple. Malzahn is in his first year as head coach with the Tigers, who finished 3-9 overall and winless in the SEC. Clearly, something needs to change. Although Malzahn recruited current quarterback Kiel Frazier, who played at the same high school Malzahn coached at for five years in Arkansas, Frazier never seemed to equate to the expectations set for him. Harris could find himself playing sooner rather than later. Harris also likes the system ran at Auburn. It fits his style of play. Harris has made mention that Cam Newton is one of his favorite NFL players. Malzahn coached Newton to a national title and a Heisman trophy. So, to me, it was no surprise that Harris kept Auburn on the short list.
Harris told me he selected his three options because of the coaches within the program who have molded some of the most talented NFL quarterbacks. Cam Cameron, offensive coordinator at LSU, helped build Phillip Rivers and Drew Brees to prominence. Harris also said that with the addition of Cameron to the staff the Tigers are starting to play the style of offense that allows him to flourish. Urban Myer sculpted Tim Tebow to become the first sophomore to win the Heisman. The Buckeyes also have a guy by the name of Braxton Miller who has the potential to be next year's Heisman trophy winner.
Whichever team he chooses on Thursday, July 19th at 2 p.m., it won't be an easy decision. And he'll do so in front of 15 different media outlets. For Harris to have the kind of pressure that he's faced over the past 12 months and still manage to keep a level head says a lot about his character. He's been consumed with coaches phone calls, visits, media interviews from across the country, and angry fans ranting on social media, and yet he still has maintained his composure. We all know we love our college football. I know I do. And we all know just how passionate we can be about the sport. But remember, he just a kid. And he's making a decision that's best for his future not the fans.