Kyle Harris is a good football player in his own right. But with his recent commitment, Georgia Tech may have also helped themselves in the recruitment of one of the state’s top prospects in 2012.
Harris is a 6-foot-3, 275-pound offensive lineman from Pepperell High School in Lindale (near Rome). The three-star prospect committed to the Yellow Jackets over 11 other offers this past weekend.
And while it had nothing to do with Tech’s decision to go after Harris, he just happens to be one of Dakota Ball’s best friends. Ball (6-2, 285) is considered one of Georgia’s top defensive linemen in the Class of 2012. Ball already has an offer from Tech along with Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee, among others.
“I’m going to try to get Dakota to go there, too,” said Harris, who became the ninth member of Georgia Tech’s Class of 2012. “Me and him have talked about it for a while, about going to the same school. He’s said he’d like to play wherever I play. So hopefully he’ll go there, too. I know he’s going to go to some games with me this fall.”
Harris said he can personally attest to Ball’s tremendous power and ability as a linemen. The two have literally met head on in many a “board drill.” That’s when offensive and defensive linemen line up face-to-face straddling a two-by-12 wooden board and collide on the coach’s whistle.
“I got him one time but he’s won all the other times,” Harris said. “The very first time I went against him in board drills I got him good. The second time he was mad and really came hard. I held my ground and we kind of had a stand off. He’s big and he’s good.”
So is Harris, who plays on both the offensive and defensive lines for Pepperell. He’s known for his quick feet and explosiveness at the point of attack. That is also manifested in his third- and second-place finishes in the Class AA discus state championship the last two years, respectively.
“He’s a real good athlete who fits in well with what Georgia Tech is doing on offense,” Pepperell coach Jeff Shiflett said. “He’s extremely strong and explosive and has really quick feet. He plays tackle for us but I think he could potentially play all five positions at the next level.”
Harris said he ended up with 12 scholarship offers by the time he pulled the trigger on Tech this past Friday. He said the Yellow Jackets made an impression on him early on and that feeling stayed with him.
“When I went to Georgia Tech the very first time I didn’t have an offer from them,” Harris said. “I remember wondering why I didn’t have an offer from them because I really wanted one, for some reason. When I finally got it I was really happy about it. But I didn’t commit right away. I waited to be sure.”
As the summer has motored along, Harris became more and more convinced this was the move for him. A recent return visit solidified the deal for him.
“The whole recruiting thing, I wanted to get it done before the season just in case I got hurt or something during my senior season,” Harris said. “That way I know I will still have this opportunity. Also, I wanted them to know that I was firmly committed and I want to help them any way I can. Early playing time was a factor, too. I know if I go in and prepare the way I’m supposed to I should be able to compete for playing time.”
Harris said he looks forward to playing the smash-mouth style of offensive football the Jackets’ employ in coach Paul Johnson’s spread-option attack.
“I love it,” he said. “People talk about Tech not being able to get offensive linemen to the NFL. That is just not true. If you can play, the NFL will find you. And Tech’s coaches are as good as any at making you the best player you can be.”
Meanwhile, you might want to pencil in Pepperell as a Class AA championship contrender this fall. Ball also plays some offense as a tackle and tight end and is among several other starters on that side of the ball.
“We should have a great team,” Harris said. “It should be the best offensive line Pepperell’s ever had.”
GEORGIA TECH 2011 COMMITMENTS