Madison Southern (Berea, Ky.) High School head coach Jon Clark isn’t surprised by all of the attention 2015 running back Damien Harris has received.
“He’s got a really rare combination of size and speed,” Clark said. “I wouldn’t even say for his age, I would just say in general. He’s 5-10, 205 pounds and runs a 4.35, so he has a unique combination of both power and explosiveness.
“I coached in college for nine years and he’s as unique of a talent as I’ve ever been around.”
That talent has already translated into early offers from schools like Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan, Kentucky, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee among others for the 5-foot-11, 205-pounder with elite speed.
“He’s got outstanding vision and he’s a very natural football player,” Clark said. “You can run across a lot of kids who are good athletes, but don’t necessarily develop into good players. He’s a really instinctive football player.
“We can do a lot with him in our offense because he understands the game well. He’s got outstanding hands, so he’s a really good receiver out of the backfield. He understands blocking schemes and he’s got really good vision. You combine all of those with his athletic attributes and it turns into a pretty good player.”
The offer from the Irish was one Harris had been hoping for for a long time.
“We sat down last summer, when he started getting offers,” Clark recalled. “I realized the level of play he was going to be at and we decided to make a top five list. Notre Dame was one of those schools he said he would like to receive an offer from and take a look at, so he was pretty excited when he got that offer.
“I think a lot of it with kids these days is who’s on TV, who you see. I don’t think there’s anybody who wouldn’t want an offer from a national championship team and the other one playing in the game. I think those things have a lot to do with it.”
Clark has been impressed with how the youngster has handled the rush of attention.
“I was a little nervous about that when you’re a 15-year-old kid and you start getting offers from schools like Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame, but he’s handled it really well,” the coach said. “His mother has done a great job raising him and she keeps him grounded and he has a really good work ethic.
“He’s a good kid. He’s a 3.0-student. He’s a yes-sir, no-sir kid. He doesn’t get in trouble. He’s a really good kid.”
But it is still early and Harris hasn’t started thinking about a decision or even scheduling many trips just yet.
“He’s a three-sport athlete. It’s pretty early, so we haven’t talked about it all that much. I imagine he’ll get there at some point.”