For those that missed part one of this interview, click here.
Sam Webb: Talk to me about recruiting in general now. I mean, you still have two years of high school left to go, so I know you're coach is pivotal in how you're approaching things; your mom as well. When you guys sit down and talk about how you want this thing to play out, what's the game plan? Are you a guy that's going to try to wait all the way until your senior season to make a decision, for instance?
Damien Harris: "Well, we sit down and we talk about how I want to weigh my options. I don't want to try to pick one over the rest, and just stick with that. I want to sit back and look at my options, but we definitely don't want to wait too long to make a decision, because I don't want to prolong the process and then start over-thinking things and second guessing myself. At the same time, I don't want to rush myself into a situation, but if I had to choose between the two, I would rather wait, because I know that I at least gave it some deep thought, but you know, I'm thinking about making a decision somewhere between the end of junior year, maybe the beginning of senior year."
Sam Webb: Let's pretend it's that time, and you're sitting down with your coach and your mom, or by yourself, and you're making that choice, what are the things that you're going to say, ‘ok, I'm basing my decision on this'. What are the factors that are going to loom the largest?
Damien Harris: "One thing I'm looking for is tradition. I mean, I'm all about great tradition and history of a program. It's like, at Michigan, we went to the Michigan v Michigan State game, and that was the 900th win as a program, and that's just something that not many people can say they were a part of, so definitely tradition. Academics is one thing that's really important to me and my mom, and my coach, because without education you won't get anywhere, but other than that, I'd just say that presence that you get as soon as you walk onto campus. With Michigan, it was an instant impact. I loved everything about it, the coaches, the facilities, just the way things were being run, everything; so I definitely take those into consideration."
Sam Webb: It was clear that you were going to be a guy to have schools coming at you left and right. We're talking about mostly schools in the Midwest. At the end of the day, is distance from home going to be a factor for you?
Damien Harris: "I think it might. I don't want to get too far away from home, too far away from my mom, but at the same time, I can't let that stop me from going somewhere I really want to go."
Sam Webb: Guys always look at the other guys that are being recruited, or who are committed to a school. Have any of the players, be it seniors now, juniors now, that are committed to other schools, have any of them started to talk to you about ‘hey, look at this school or look at that school'?
Damien Harris: "I've talked to a few players here and there, and they try to say ‘well, you know, think of the things we could do together at this program, you know, we could be a heavy presence', so I definitely take that into consideration, where other players are going to go, because that can help me. I can help them, they can help me, we can help the program; so that's definitely something I take into consideration."
Sam Webb: So is that a thing for you? Is Damien Harris going to be a recruiter for whatever school that he winds up at? Are you going to be a guy that's actively out pursuing guys, or is that kind of not your deal?
Damien Harris: "Definitely. I feel like if I can establish a good relationship with other recruits and get them to come in with me, and we can come in and build a better team, versus sitting back and letting them decide, I'm going to go after them. I'm going to try to get as much talent as I possibly can to play alongside me."
Sam Webb: You have some lofty goals. You mentioned sub 4.4 in the 40 here. What about as far as looking ahead, looking past this combine? Are you going to be going to other combines, other camps, or is this pretty much going to be it as far as that's concerned?
Damien Harris: "Well, I definitely want to keep going to combines, keep looking at the competition around the country. I don't want to sit back and get complacent. I want to stay hungry and stay out there, looking to see what all is out there talent-wise, and see what – like I said what I can recruit to wherever I end up going, not just now but in the future."
Sam Webb: You camped at Michigan already. I know you're a fan, but you camped there already. Are you going to go back, or are you going to go somewhere else this summer?
Damien Harris: "I would definitely love to go back, but at the same time, like I said, I'd like to see my options, so if I could go somewhere else, I wouldn't mind that either, but I mean, I'd love to take a trip to Michigan right now if I could."
Sam Webb: You mentioned that Michigan is your leader with Ohio State nipping at their heels; a lot of other schools coming your way. First of all, how big is the lead? And what does a school have to do to knock Michigan off that perch? How hard is it going to be?
Damien Harris: "Well, I'd say it's a close race, but you know, Michigan still has the edge. I wouldn't say just barely, but by a small margin. I honestly don't know what Ohio State would have to do to overtake the number one spot. It would be tough, honestly. You know, just growing up, being a Michigan fan, not liking Ohio State, the odds are kind of against them, so it'll be hard for them, and I just don't know."
Sam Webb: Ohio State is clearly a school that you're liking more now, though. You're opening up to other schools. Who are some schools that maybe you haven't heard from, that you'd like to hear from and go visit, or maybe some that you're hearing from and you want to hear from more?
Damien Harris: "I've heard a little bit from Alabama, and I'd love to hear more. I might be taking a visit there, which is something that I really want to do, but other than them, those are the top three that I would love to go to over anywhere else. Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, so I'm going to try to get in with Alabama, see if I can hear from them a little bit more, and see where it goes from there."
In part two of GoBlueWolverine's sit down with 2015 Berea (KY) Madison Southern RB, Damien Harris, the Army combine star discusses the factors that will be significant in his recruitment, his decision timeline, the chances that Ohio State will be able to catch childhood favorite Michigan in the race for his services, and more.
Can the Buckeyes catch childhood favorite Michigan in the race for this c/o 2015 standout?