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May 24, 2013Since narrowing his list of finalists down to seven schools the excitement's been slowly building for Rivals250 quarterback Brandon Harris of Bossier City-Parkway High.
That level of anticipation will reach a crescendo this weekend when Harris, the nation's No. 5 rated dual-threat quarterback, makes the drive to LSU on Friday for Saturday's Bayou Picnic recruiting function - the first of what's scheduled to be a seven-school odyssey.
Harris, who will graduate in December, has set a self-imposed commitment deadline of July 18.
"I'm excited to get the opportunity to choose my favorite school," Harris said. "I can't go wrong with any of these schools I have to choose from. They're all great programs. I'm approaching this whole process slow and not rushing and feeling any pressure to commit right away."
Harris said he will be accompanied by his father, two of his uncles and his brother for what will mark his first time he's ever stepped foot on LSU's campus.
Harris said the only college campuses he's previously been to have been Louisiana Tech for Junior Day, Northwestern State for a school function and UL-Monroe where his brother attended.
"I'm pretty sure I'll be blown away because I'm sure LSU will make those others look like high schools probably," Harris said. "I'm pretty sure I'll love it. I just want the opportunity to evaluate them."
What LSU will be afforded this weekend is the chance to make the first impression on Harris and his family.
Harris said he will follow up the visit to LSU with unofficial visits to Ohio State before taking part in the regional Elite 11 competition in Columbus, Ohio.
After a weekend off Harris intends to visit both Alabama and Auburn and then make it to Ole Miss and cap his visit spree with Texas A&M and Baylor.
"I won't commit to any school without going to their campus first," Harris said. "You always want to compare every program."
Harris said there was nothing earth-shattering behind the selection of the July 18th date to offer his commitment other than to get the decision behind him and begin helping the school of his choice recruit.
"Most quarterback's normally commit early," Harris said. "I haven't decided how I'm going to do it although ESPN has reached out to my coach about doing something. I know I'll do something at Parkway because I want to have my school involved."
Harris is coming off a junior season where he completed 152 of 306 passes for 2,573 yards with 26 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He also rushed 115 times for 667 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Through a rigorous offseason spent under the guidance of a quarterback's coach Harris believes he's improved markedly on his mechanics, footwork and route progressions.
Given the level of interest from what's been a Who's Who of programs carrying plenty of national clout it's hard to argue with the strides Harris has made in less than a year. He also debuted in the Rivals250 this week at No. 186 overall and was also invited to play in the prestigious Under Armour All-American game.
"I've been working my tail off since last football season," Harris said. "I gained 20 to 25 pounds and grown another half an inch. I will never be fully complete. I have the arm strength but I still want to work on my mechanics and getting the ball out quick."
With offensive coordinator Cam Cameron leading the way LSU's maintained a steady presence for Harris, first with a visit a couple of weeks ago that resulted in a scholarship offer after watching him throw.
Cameron was back on hand last week for Parkway's spring game in which Harris reportedly passed for more than 300 yards in front of assistant coaches representing all of his other six finalists.
Harris said he looks forward to further solidifying his relationship with LSU Head Coach Les Miles, who he has begun conducting Skype conversations with, along with Cameron and the remainder of the staff.
Moreover, Harris is hopeful of getting to meet and create bonds with several of LSU's other recruiting targets that are expected to be on hand such as St. Augustine's Leonard Fournette, John Curtis' Malachi Dupre, West Monroe's Cameron Robinson, Barbe's Trey Quinn and LSU commitment Jacory Washington of Westlake.
"I just want to build a better relationship with all the coaches," Harris said. "I also want to get to meet some of the other recruits that I know and have expressed that they would want to play with me in college and that means a lot. So I'm looking forward to the opportunity of meeting a lot of these guys."