Article by Kyle Bogenschutz
In recruiting, 16, 17 and 18 year old kids are pressed into making one of the most important decisions of their life. Multiple college programs come calling with scholarship offers and youngsters are faced with trying to build strong, trusting relationships with many of them. As if the decision of which school to attend isn’t difficult enough, 2014 Grand Rapids Christian (Mich.) high school wide receiver Drake Harris first had to decide which sport he’d pursue at the next level -- football or basketball.
Based largely upon his original decision to play both, Harris committed to Michigan State. After experiencing a season on the football field that will go down in history books, his college decision, and plans athletically, altered course.
“After my sophomore year I was already kind of thinking about playing one sport,” Harris told GoBlueWolverine. “But then in the summer I went down to Michigan State and did a couple camps down there and talked to Izzo and that got me a little motivated to play basketball again. So that’s why I committed there in the first place.”
“But now that I’m only going to play football, that’s why I opened my recruitment back up, and after this football season that’s when I decided that I’m just going to play football.”
After registering 2,000 yards receiving for the year, culminating in an eight catch, 243 yard, one-touchdown performance in Grand Rapids Christian’s 40-37 state championship win over Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Harris emerged as one of the top wide receivers not only in the state of Michigan, but in the entire nation in the class of 2014.
His father, Mike, could see this coming early in his son’s athletic career.
“After getting his first offer as an eighth grader from (Tom) Crean, we were all ecstatic and happy about that but then like I told Drake, as we went on in the process and he entered high school, football was his thing,” Harris’ father told GoBlueWolverine. “He wanted to do basketball. And I told him; you’re really special on that football field too. Let’s keep our options open and do everything because you just never know which way you may go down the road.”
“And then what happened this year it was just, hey, he went out there and showed the world what he could do on the gridiron as well, not to take away what he’s accomplished on the hard court.”
Harris’ decision to verbally commit to Michigan State for both football and basketball was centrally focused on the Spartan basketball program and his relationship with coach Tom Izzo. With his future now headed in a football direction, Harris had a pair of difficult phone calls to make in East Lansing.
“I talked to Izzo and that was probably the toughest call,” said Harris. “I had to call him but he was very understanding, he’s a great person, so he understood the whole situation. He wants me to still play basketball but he feels the same with me that I’m better at football and that that can be a better route for me.”
“Then I talked to coach Dantonio and he was cool with the whole situation too. He told me that I should take my visits and stuff.”
Maintaining his commitment to Michigan State for football, Harris now has every intention of opening himself up to other avenues and opportunities from several college football programs.
“I’m committed there for football but I opened my recruitment back up,” said Harris. “The reason I committed there was because I was going to play basketball too and I wanted to play for Izzo. But now that I’m not playing basketball anymore and I’m just playing football, I opened my recruitment back up and I’m giving a fair shot to all of the other schools too.”
With the table set, stick around for part two of GoBlueWolverine’s sit down with the Harris’ when father and son detail their weekend visit to Michigan.