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January 25, 2013

Harris is a 'smart, strong player'

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TAMPA -- Talk to Earl Garcia, head coach of Hillsborough High school in Tampa, Fla. and he'll tell you.

Nigel Harris is a 'smart, strong and talented student athlete.'

So many times in today's society, we hear the term 'student athlete' - which is often accompanied by a rolling of the eyes, or a slight 'nudge, nudge - grin grin.

Not the case with Harris.

Harris pledged his services to USF on Wednesday (see story) - and within minutes, received high praises from anyone and everyone who has known him.

"He's one of those guys who gets it," said Garcia, a long-time coach at Hillsborough. "He got his classwork done, then beat everyone to the practice field, then the film room."

"And then back to get more homework done," Garcia said. "Or study for an exam. His motor never stopped and he has his priorities completely in the right order."

If Harris' size is a concern to some, Garcia said he never played like his 6-foot-1, 205 pd body.

"He would play anywhere I lined him up," Garcia said. "He was our leading tackler, our leading rusher and when our punter went down - he became our punter."

"He's only 205 now, but at college they'll get him to 225 and he'll be a beast," Garcia added. "He's simply a great athlete."

Garcia said that Harris ranks right up there as one of the top five all-time athletes he's ever coached.

Garcia is thrilled for Harris to be playing in his home town - and said that the local Tampa Bay coaches are noticing what Taggart and his staff are doing - by shopping at home.

"They (USF) are the home team, that's what they should be doing," said Garcia. "They got one of the most productive players in this area."

"I'll miss him next year, probably more than anyone else," Garcia added. "He just does his job. The kids with all the hype aren't necessarily the best players."



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