Urban Meyer and his staff have handed out offers to many of the top running backs in the 2015 class, but there's one player they've offered who stands out above the rest: Berea (KY) Madison Southern running back Damien Harris, who was once committed to Michigan.
Harris, who visited Columbus to watch the Ohio State-Michigan basketball game last week, reflected on his visit experience after performing at the Best of the Midwest Combine in Indianapolis. The standout tailback had great things to say about the visit.
"I really like Coach Meyer as a coach; I think he's a really great guy. He gives me that family feel that I'm going from one home to when I'm in college I'll be in another home, the place I belong. I think he's really good at what he does. He's passionate and intense in his coaching," Harris said. "He (Meyer) and Coach Drayton, the running backs coach, sat me down and took the time to tell me how they would develop me as a person and a player, how I would be successful at the university, how they would use me, what they would do with me, and stuff like that. It was a great visit overall."
The nation's top running back according to the 247Sports Composite rankings is a really big fan of Urban Meyer and is intrigued by not only what Meyer could do for him as a football player, but as a person.
"I talk to him on almost a daily basis. We're just really getting to know each other and are starting to develop that trust where I'll be just at home (in Columbus). Everybody is going to miss home and you have to feel like you're going from home to another home. A home is where you belong and where you should be, and he makes me feel that way," Harris said. "We're developing a really great relationship and we'll have to see where it takes us."
In addition to getting to know Meyer, Harris is also building a pretty strong bond with Ohio State running backs coach Stan Drayton, who he spent a lot of time with on his visit last week.
"I've developed great relationships with both. I have that mentor-type relationship with the two. They both took me in and told me how they would develop me in football and out of football," he said. "They had me sit down with academic advisors and had my whole college schedule planned out based on what my major would be. It shows me they care about my development as a person, so I'll have all of the tools I'll need whenever football ends because everyone knows football ends one day. I'm just trying to see who helps develop me as a person, not just as a player."
While the Buckeyes are firmly in the picture for Harris, he has had a lot of contact with many other schools and would like to get out and see them all.
"I've talked to some coaches from Alabama, Auburn, Miami, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and USC," he said. "I'm going to try to visit as many of those as I can. It will be hard because all those schools are so spread out, but I'll do my best to visit all of those schools."
Even though he decommitted from the Wolverines, in part because of the dismissal of former offensive coordinator Al Borges, they remain in the picture and he's excited to develop a relationship with newly minted offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.
"They haven't dropped any. My interest in them hasn't gone down. With Coach Borges not being there because he was the guy personally recruited me, it was hard to go to a school without the person recruiting you there," he continued. "I really like Coach Nussmeier; we have developed a nice relationship over the time period he's been there. He's a great coach like I said and he told me when he first got there, 'I know you don't really know me and I don't really know you, but just give me a chance to show you I can be a good coach for you, develop you, I can help you do all of the things you need to do, and I can really help you be successful at the University of Michigan.' I'm trying to see how he does his first year and it will determine how this relationship goes with us, how much we build on that. It will determine how much I look at them in the long run."
Despite Michigan still be his rumored leader in the days following his decommittment, that no longer seems to be the case, though he was adamant that he still had the Wolverines high on his list.
"I'm trying to put everyone on an even playing field. I don't think it would be fair decommitting and saying 'Michigan is my number one, so I'm not looking at anyone else.'," he stated. "Like I said earlier, my interest in them hasn't gone down. I don't not like them as much as I did before, there's really nowhere I like more than that. But with coach Borges being gone, it's hard going somewhere with someone who didn't recruit you."
After decommitting early in the process, Harris is in no rush to make his second commitment as he would like to make sure he is 100% on a school before making a commitment.
"I'm going to wait until National Signing Day," Harris said. "I already made a decision and backed out of it once, so why rush your decision any faster than you need to? Why not take all the time to make sure you're 100%? The decision is hard enough in and of itself and having a time period to where you have to make it makes it even harder, so why not maximize all of that time, use all five official visits, talk to coaches as much as possible before you make your decision. So why not wait as long as possible?"
Harris isn't anywhere close to making his second commitment, but I think the Buckeyes lead Michigan, Auburn, USC, Oklahoma, Alabama and others for his commitment. Whoever ends up with him is going to be landing a great football player, one who could make an immediate splash at the college level.
If you haven't seen Harris in action, make sure to check out his highlights below: