UT commitment Christian Harris likes being in middle of Etowah’s defense

CHANNEL 2 SPORTS ZONE FRIDAY GAME OF THE WEEK: ETOWAH AT WOODSTOCK

Christian Harris likes to be in the middle of things. Literally.

The Etowah High senior starred for the Eagles last season as an outside linebacker. But this season coach Bill Stewart moved him inside to “Mike” linebacker. The move has been dream for Harris and a nightmare for Etowah’s opponents.

“I like Mike a lot better,” said Harris, a University of Tennessee commitment. “I like being in the middle of the defense. Whether the play is to the weak or strong side I have a chance to make the tackle.”

And Harris has been making a lot of those. In fact, the 6-foot-3, 235-pound senior leads the Eagles with a gaudy 95 stops this season. He also has four tackles for loss, two sacks, two hurries, two fumble recoveries a caused fumble and an interception.

“We wanted to get him inside where teams can’t run away from him and he could be more involved every play,” said Stewart, the Eagles’ coach since 2006. “It’s more of a natural ft for him and that’s where he’s going to play in college. And I’ll tell you, he’s as good as I’ve been around.”

Harris’ talents will be on display on television tonight as he leads Etowah against rival Woodstock in a rivalry game with huge region implications in the Channel 2 Sports Zone Friday Game of the Week. Both teams — whose schools are located two miles apart on either side of Towne Center Shopping Center — are tied for first in Region 5-AAAAA. The Eagles are 7-1; Woodstock is 6-1.

The teams are similar in other ways as well. The only loss for each team was to Class AAAA powerhouse Kell (Etowah lost 20-10, Woodstock 17-10). And both rely on stifling defenses to win football games.

Before last week’s curious struggle against Marietta, in which the Eagles gave up 29 points in a win, Etowah was allowing just nine points a game with two shutouts.  Woodstock is giving up only eight points a game and has also shut out two opponents.

Meanwhile, regardless of record, these are two teams that simply don’t like each other. Last year Woodstock students snuck into Etowah’s stadium and painted the field. That was a response to the previous season when Etowah students got into Woodstock’s facility and painted the Wolverines’ shed next to the field its school colors.

“Of course this game is different than any other,” Harris said. “It’s a rivalry that’s been going for years. The whole school has been excited this week.”

Tennessee fans should be excited about landing Harris. The Vols deserve credit for identifying Harris as a potential prospect and moving quickly to offer. Harris committed to Tennessee last March with little fanfare and not a whole lot of recruiting. His only other offer at the time was Central Florida.

“I know [Tennessee recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach] Lance Thompson pretty well and he called asking about players and I told him about Christian,” Stewart said. “I sent him his highlight reel and they didn’t wait around. They offered Christian right away.”

Said Harris: “They were my first junioir day. It was the only one I really wanted to go to. I went there and liked everything about it. So I didn’t really care about looking around at other places.”

In the meantime, Harris is intently focused on his senior season and trying to help Etowah win a championship. The biggest hurdle to that end is tonight.

“I’m pretty confident actually,” Harris said. “I feel like we’ll play well. We’ve got some new stuff we’ve put in for this game. And, after last year, I don’t know, I just feel like we’re going to win the game.”

If they do, it’s a safe bet Harris will have been in the middle of it.

100 comments Add your comment

RxDawg

October 22nd, 2010
10:33 am

Look, I’m no Tech hater, but on the front page of the *UGA* sports site there is a big photo of coach Paul Johnson and a Tech player. Chip!! Work your magic man and make those internet editors shape up. This is the big leagues lol. ;)

Snoop Dawg

October 22nd, 2010
10:45 am

SmyrnaMan

October 22nd, 2010
10:47 am

GT Sambo

October 22nd, 2010
11:15 am

Rocky Top… you’ll always be… 3rd in the SEC (East)!

VOLNATL

October 22nd, 2010
11:21 am

Really! a GT fan bashing on UT. Please, GT couldn’t even line up with us or 90% of the other SEC teams this year. How does it feel having UGA ruin your season every year!

GT Roger

October 22nd, 2010
11:35 am

Georgia Tech would win the SEC every year.

GT Roger

October 22nd, 2010
11:36 am

Tennessee wouldn’t stand a chance in the ACC.

GT Roger

October 22nd, 2010
11:36 am

Peyton Manning isn’t half the quarterback that Joshua Nesbitt is.

GT Roger

October 22nd, 2010
11:38 am

No coach has ever left Georgia Tech for what they percieved was a better job. Can’t say the same for Tennessee.

GT Roger

October 22nd, 2010
11:48 am

Joshua Nesbitt is the Heisman frontrunner

baloney

October 22nd, 2010
11:49 am

Bill Curry? “Popeye” the coach that led you to a share of the 1990 NC? O’Leary? Shall I keep going?

RxDawg

October 22nd, 2010
11:51 am

They fixed it, good job Chip!

wesleywhatwhat

October 22nd, 2010
11:51 am

UT fans are talking trash about a team with a winning record?

really?

baloney

October 22nd, 2010
11:53 am

Bobb Ross was the coach they called “popeye”.

THWGT

October 22nd, 2010
11:53 am

resume fabricator George O’Leary?

UGA owns you tasty bees..

October 22nd, 2010
12:03 pm

GT is sad and pathetic this friday, almost as much as every other day of the week.. :)

eagle alum

October 22nd, 2010
12:32 pm

can someone teach the ajc to be more accurate and review their stuff before posting it. Etowah and Woodstock are on Towne Lake not Town Center.

ryan

October 22nd, 2010
12:36 pm

GT Roger lives in fantasy land dude you need psychiatrist .

RambleOn84

October 22nd, 2010
12:44 pm

“GT Roger” could not possibly have been a UGA fan in disguise, could he?

Now THAT is pathetic.

Foolish times 2

October 22nd, 2010
12:50 pm

Only a fool would put down other schools with the seasons TN and GA are having.

ryan

October 22nd, 2010
12:57 pm

GT Roger is defiantly not a UGA fan

GT Sambo

October 22nd, 2010
1:14 pm

Used to volunteer down at the SEC fanfare around the SEC Championship game in the late 90s. Saw an awful lot of Orange during those times. Still seen a lot of Orange down at the Georgia Dome the first weekend in December recently. Too bad the only Orange UT fans have been wearing the first weekend in December recently has been their hunting vests.

Volmania21

October 22nd, 2010
1:50 pm

Really, GT fans talking about UT. How about check your history books and tell me GT is a better program than UT. I admit we are in hard times right now, but even today we could beat GT and that laughable lousy offense. The ” double veer” has been outdated for oh, about 100 years. How about trying to throw the ball more than four times a game, oh wait, you cant cause you have a lousy QB. Try beating UGA more than once every 15 years and come talk to us, have a good day!!

ryan

October 22nd, 2010
1:57 pm

Volmania 21 this one time i will agree you why don’t Tech come back to SEC and see how tough it is instead of playing in weak ACC .

RambleOn84

October 22nd, 2010
2:02 pm

Haha, Tennessee would lose to Middle Tennessee.

I would LOVE for Tech to play in the SEC East this year…some years, probably not.

RambleOn84

October 22nd, 2010
2:02 pm

Vanderbilt has a chance to win your crap division…quit drinking the Flavor-Aid

RambleOn84

October 22nd, 2010
2:04 pm

At least Tennessee has won a title in the past 2 decades…UGA is a powerhouse only in their own minds.

1eyedJack

October 22nd, 2010
2:04 pm

The perception of the SEC overall this year is that we’re down. The fact is we are beating the crap out of each other. Wait ’til the draft and see how down the SEC is.

ryan

October 22nd, 2010
2:05 pm

Well at least we didn’t loose to Kansas good luck against Clemson and FSU because your going need it .

RambleOn84

October 22nd, 2010
2:05 pm

But they love bragging how other teams in their conference are good teams…how pathetic.

RambleOn84

October 22nd, 2010
2:06 pm

We didn’t “loose” to Kansas either…how much better do you think Colorado is?

ryan

October 22nd, 2010
2:07 pm

How many BCS bowl games has Tech won 0 UGA 2 .

RambleOn84

October 22nd, 2010
2:11 pm

So the draft proves how good the conference is?

How do you explain the ACC having 12 first round picks in 2006? That’s the most ever by ANY conference, for the record.

Doga Smell

October 22nd, 2010
2:11 pm

GT Sambo, Did your parebts produce any children that lived ?

Doga Smell

October 22nd, 2010
2:11 pm

GT Sambo

October 22nd, 2010
2:14 pm

1eyedJack,
Did you really just bring up the NFL Draft to prove your conference’s power? GT had two players drafted in the 1st round last year. I guess that makes us National Champs!

RambleOn84

October 22nd, 2010
2:15 pm

UGA under Richt is 2-1 in BCS bowls after his first 7 years. GT under Johnson is 0-1 after his first two years. Johnson has five more years to win two BCS bowls. Will he? Maybe, maybe not.

Doga Smell

October 22nd, 2010
2:15 pm

wesleywhatwhat

Tennessee has a winning record against UGA and Florida !

RambleOn84

October 22nd, 2010
2:16 pm

By the way, one of those BCS bowl wins was against Hawaii.

1eyedJack

October 22nd, 2010
2:17 pm

@RambleOn84
“So the draft proves how good the conference is?”

Is that what I said? You’re reading comprehension is terrible. Bet you’re pretty good at calculus though.

1eyedJack

October 22nd, 2010
2:19 pm

@GT Sambo

Once again you two hayseeds are showing your lack of intellect. Read what it says, not what you want to read into it. Are you left wing liberals or something?

ryan

October 22nd, 2010
2:20 pm

So they were undefeated and we able to stop there spread offence just like we stopped Tech option spread last year .

RambleOn84

October 22nd, 2010
2:21 pm

Your exact quote:

“The perception of the SEC overall this year is that we’re down. The fact is we are beating the crap out of each other. Wait ’til the draft and see how down the SEC is.”

This implies one of two things:
1. Your comment should be taken at face value, and you mean to say that very few SEC players will be drafted, proving that the SEC is down.
OR
2. Your comment is facetious, and you mean to say that the number of good players who are drafted will prove that the conference actually is good.

My reading comprehension and calculus are both great; thank you.

RambleOn84

October 22nd, 2010
2:22 pm

Let’s see how many more BCS bowls Johnson even makes it to in his first seven years before we make definitive statements about his ability win them in comparison to Richt.

Dogs Smell

October 22nd, 2010
2:25 pm

Speaking of GT and UGA , anyone know which team won more SEC titles between the 2 teams while Tech was in the SEC.

1eyedJack

October 22nd, 2010
2:27 pm

RambleOn84, thank you for explaining to me what I meant to say.

GT Sambo

October 22nd, 2010
2:31 pm

UT a better program than GT?!? Hmmm… I think some FACTS are in order. Claimed National Titles UT-6, GT-4; Consenus Recognized National Titles UT-4, GT-4. Interesting…. I thought history would tell me that UT was so much better than GT.

RambleOn84

October 22nd, 2010
2:32 pm

Then what did you mean to say?

RambleOn84

October 22nd, 2010
2:33 pm

Sambo,
GT only has 3 recognized national titles. 1952 is not recognized, despite the 31-game winning streak.

1eyedJack

October 22nd, 2010
2:33 pm

Exactly what I said.