Marcell Harris is going to be just a junior during the 2011 season, but that isn't stopping colleges from around the nation from making their way to Groveland (Fla.) South Lake to check him out. This week alone schools such as Texas, Florida, and Notre Dame have stopped by. On Wednesday, one of those schools extended him his first offer.
"Florida offered me today," Harris said.
The 6-foot-2, 193-pound safety was caught off-guard by the offer, which came from Brian White, who was the coach on-campus at South Lake.
"Me, as a 2013 prospect, I was out at practice and they came out to look at me today. So I was just out there practicing and it didn't even dawn on me that he was offering me. I know he was talking to our head coach and Coach T (Terrance Larmond), my position coach, and looking at me," Harris said. "It didn't really hit me until I got home and Coach T told me again that I got offered by Florida today. I was like, for real."
For Harris, the offer is made even more significant by the fact his father, Mike Harris, played for the Gators.
"I like them a lot," Harris said. "My dad played up there and he has always told me about when he went there. He just says that if you go to Florida, you have to work hard. He talks to me about that. He talks about working hard to be prepared for that level."
As for the new head coach in Gainesville, Harris is a fan of his work at his previous stop.
"I like Will Muschamp a lot," Harris said. "He is going in there from Texas and I liked his defense at Texas. He ran one of the best defenses in the country. I really liked him at Texas. So him going from Texas to Florida is definitely a good thing."
Speaking of Texas, the Longhorns, who rarely recruit in Florida, had assistant coach Duane Akina drop in earlier this week.
"Them coming in the other day was big," Harris said. "Texas has always been one of my schools since I was little. So for them to come here to see me, with Texas being such a big football state, that meant a lot. That was a big surprise, I was shocked really."
The good news for Texas, and other interested schools, is that despite a great deal of interest in the Gators from Harris, he isn't prepared to think about committing at this point.
"I know I really like them but I want to take my time with things," Harris said. "I don't really know a lot about this process yet and I want to focus more on the field. I just want my coaches to coach me up and for me to improve as a player. I want to know what I need to do. That is what I am working on right now."
In fact, Harris said the early offer is really just motivation for him as he prepares for his junior season.
"It just means I have to keep working harder," Harris said. "I just have to keep improving and show why they offered me so early."
Harris recently transferred to South Lake from West Orange High School.