With four USF seniors on the O-line graduating after next season, securing top offensive line talent is a must for the '09 class. One off the Bulls top targets is Jonotthan Harrison
a 6'4" and 285 pound lineman from South Lake HS.
Harrison is a 4-star prospect and is ranked the 7th best guard in the nation by Scout.com. Harrison is a highly coveted recruit and on Monday spent several hours in Tampa on an unofficial visit meeting with USF's coaches and touring the facilities.
"It was a pretty good visit, and very productive," said Harrison. "We toured the campus, and they talked with my parents a lot about academics." They also showed my parents around the athletic facilities, I've seen them before on a previous visit, but my parents never have. Then we went down to Raymond James Stadium and walked around a bit."
During the visit Harrison and his parents also got to check out the academic side of USF, and met with an academic advisor.
"We talked to a couple of academic advisors, and that helped out a lot." said Harrison. "I'm thinking about Sports Medicine, both my parents are registered nurses, and several member of my extended family are in medicine. I was impressed on how they handle academics as a football team."
The 4-star recruit met several members of the Bulls coaching staff, but spent most of the afternoon with offensive line coach Mike Simmonds.
"He's a really cool guy. I spoke to him several times before and I really like him as a coach. I could see myself getting along with him. I didn't get to meet Coach Leavitt, I think he was ill and wasn't in the office."
Harrison and family also visited the Ray Jay, one of the most unique and well known stadiums in the country, and came away with a totally different outlook on where the Bulls play.
"It was really nice. It's a humongous stadium," said Harrison. "At first I was thinking it might have been sort of a turn-off that they didn't have their own on-campus stadium. But afterwards, I see a bunch of positives that come out of playing in a NFL stadium. It's where pro team's plays and you could also say you played where a Super Bowl was played. It also a real big stadium, so there will be huge crowds on game day, and I though very highly of that stadium after visiting it."
The talented big man has been to USF before so seeing the athletic facilities wasn't new, but while on the visit he did learn some things he didn't already know.
"The size of the campus is what really got me. I had no idea the campus was that large, and that stood out to me," said Harrison. "I was also surprised to learn about all the hospitals they have on campus. I didn't know that and it was somewhat shocking in a good way. I didn't expect anything before my visit but was shocked to see how nice everything was."
The versatile Harrison, who is 6'4" and 285 pounds, moves very well for his size, played on both sides of the ball as a junior and college coaches have taken notice.
"I think I go a little over 20 offers, Besides USF, I have Florida
, Southern Miss
, South Carolina
, Florida State
, Boston College
, Mississippi State
, East Carolina
, Middle Tennessee
, FIU, FAU, Stanford
, Bethune-Cookman, Georgia
Southern, Eastern Kentucky
, and a few others."
With an ever growing list of impressive offers does the South Lake star have a list of favorites?
"Right now I'd have to say its Florida, USF, UCF, Duke, South Carolina, FSU, and Miami. That's my list for right now, I sat down with my coach and those are the schools that I put on my unofficial visit schedule so far, but others could come in."
Harrison was a top performer at the Scout combine, said he's used to training in this climate, and prefers to stay in Florida, but that's not why the Florida schools stick out to him.
"I like the Florida schools, not because they're local, but because of what they have to offer." Harrison did say he's also considering out of sate schools, and what he's looking for in a program.
"There are a few things. I'm looking at the general atmosphere of the school, the town it's in, and how I picture myself being at the school. Also I'm looking for a comfort level with the coaching staff, and especially my position coach. How I get along with the players and if they'll accept me as a new player or if I'll just be a tackling dummy out there. And of course academics are important also."
Harrison is also a very versatile lineman and during his time at South Lake High has played all 5 positions on the line.
"My freshman year I played center, because it was only my second year playing football and wasn't very strong in any position. My sophomore year I got moved to guard, and then my junior year I got moved to tackle. I've played tackle the most, and that's my purest position, and where I feel most comfortable at".
Having experience at every position is a huge upside for an O-lineman, but what position are the Bulls recruiting Harrison for?
"In our conversations, we've talked about tackles leaving, and who's staying, so I believe it's the tackle position," said Harrison. "I'm most comfortable at left tackle, but can play either and it doesn't matter to me which one I play."
Before the visit to USF Monday Harrison also visited UCF on Saturday, and has been to Florida many times, and will most likely have a busy summer schedule.
"In the month of June, I'll be visiting FSU and South Carolina, but am not sure on the dates I think FSU is on the 21st, and S. Carolina and Duke are still pending.
Besides unofficial visits, Harrison also said there are several camps that he will try to attend, if he can fit them in.
"I'm sure I'll be attending some camps also, but are not sure which ones yet. I know USF has one around the 21st at Raymond James but it depends on my schedule if I'll be able to attend"
The highly coveted lineman, can't take any official visits until September, but wants to make an early decision. "I'm graduating in December of '08 and plan on making my decision in mid July after I take my visits."
Being a December graduate, Harrison also said that playing early is a big factor in his college choice.
"I really want to start early, and I'm hoping that being there in the spring will give me a jump on the other freshmen," said Harrison. "Whenever I'm at a school, I ask about depth charts with the lineman, and graduating seniors."
Harrison carries a 3.8 GPA, is already qualified and will be one of the more sought after recruits in Florida. So stay tuned with USFNation as we closely follow his recruitment
Click on the links below to watch his junior video.
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Jonotthan Harrison, a 4-star OL from South Lake HS talks to USFNation about his visit to USF, and what he learned about the Bulls while on the trip. Find out who else has offered and what will be the main factor when making a final decision. Read on for the entire story. Only On USFNation.com – Get it First, Get it Fast!