Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips four-star safety Marcell Harris loves to compete. The Rivals100 defensive back wanted to be prepared for next week's Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge, so he recently decided to attend a session of the University of Florida's summer camp in order to get in some practice before heading to Atlanta.
When the 6-foot-1, 213-pound athlete arrives in Atlanta, he is out to silence all those that doubt his ability to play safety long-term.
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"The best 'smash mouth safety'," Harris said. "I am branding that name."
In fact, Harris sees a strong trend of players with his size and athletic ability making a major impact at the safety position.
"Being a safety with size, there is no problem with that," Harris said. "I look at guys like Su'a Cravens and Keanu Neal, they are both big safeties as well. We are some of the best safeties that are out there. We are big, but we are also athletic. We are above everybody else with that size and ability."
Harris has heard the talk that he will move down in the defensive scheme at the collegiate level and play linebacker. While he is always out to help his team, he says that won't be the case if he has his way.
"I have been telling people I am a safety since I started this whole process," Harris said. "That hasn't changed."
He believes he has shown that he can be a safety at his current size with his performance in games and camps.
"I think I have shown people I am a safety with what I have done in games and at camps. At the VTO Camp, I earned MVP at safety with my performance," Harris said. "I am just going to keep playing like I have been playing and keep working hard and proving those people wrong.
"I work very hard at my craft, and I don't see anybody in front of me stopping me," Harris added.
When he hits the field in Atlanta and competes with and against 20 of the top receivers in the nation, Harris says he plans to once again show that he is, without a doubt, a safety.
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"I love competing against the best wide receivers that are out there," Harris said. "I will guard them when I need to. I have done it at VTO and at NFTC and I will do it in Atlanta.
"I plan to go out there and do my thing," Harris added. "We all have to go out there and show them what we have got."
With regard to his recruitment, the Sunshine State prospect has yet to narrow down his list of options. Harris claims offers from Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, LSU, Miami, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, USF, Temple, Tennessee, Texas and USC.
"I will decide whenever I am ready," Harris said. "It is going to be when I want it to be. Nobody is going to force me to decide at any given time. I am going to let my heart help me figure out which school and coaches are going to help me get ready for that next level."
As a junior, Harris recorded 93 tackles, three interceptions and four forced fumbles. He played his junior season at Groveland (Fla.) South Lake.
Mike Farrell's take
Harris is a huge safety who many feel will grow into a linebacker, so he's out to show that he has the ability to stay in the defensive backfield and show off his coverage skills at the event. That won't be easy with the talent at wide receiver at the camp, but his size will certainly help, especially in the red zone. He is a hard worker and is prepping for this event like it's a playoff game, so he will bring his best stuff.
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