March 16, 2010

Harris' career goals make UT intriguing

Atlanta cornerback Ronnie Harris has big plans for his future. Those dreams were able to get Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley's foot in the door when it comes to the Westlake standout's recruitment.

"Well, it was actually very intriguing. We kind of connected right off the bat, because he asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up," Harris said of his first conversation with Dooley. "I told him I want to be a cardiologist, and I heard that Tennessee has a great medical center and he was just telling me how his wife was an OGBYN and she also attended Tennessee's medical program and we just kind of connected right off the bat."

Harris received an offer from Tennessee earlier in March to go with his offers from Auburn, Ole Miss, Harvard, Vanderbilt and South Carolina. But, his talk with Dooley wasn't his first experience with Tennessee recruiting. One of his best friends was a one-time Tennessee commit.

"I know a lot about Tennessee. I know they have a good winning tradition. My linebacker (Michael Taylor) committed to Tennessee, but he ended up decommitting after the whole Lane Kiffin situation went down. So, I'm pretty familiar with Tennessee," the 5-foot-10, 160 pound corner said.

It would be easy to think that Taylor, a Florida signee, would be saying only bad things about Tennessee. Not true, said Harris, who said Taylor only had good things to say about the Vols to go along with sound advice about the recruiting process.

"That's actually my best friend. We've been close since I came to Westlake in the 10th grade. He's just telling me to enjoy it right now, because when it gets down to crunch time you're going to be stressed-out. He said right now just enjoy the recruiting process, stay humble and don't let anything change you," Harris continued. "He said Tennessee is a great school. The only reason he decommitted, just because the fact the coaching situation changed and he felt that he wasn't going to be afforded the same opportunity. But, he told me that Tennessee is great school. "

For all the nice things Taylor has told Harris about Tennessee, make no mistake he wants his best friend to be a Gator.

"Now he's throwing up the Florida Gators' sign every time he sees me," Harris said laughing.

Taylor isn't the only Gator that has taken notice of the defensive backs' game. Florida's linebackers coach has plans to make a trip to Atlanta in the spring the see him.

"I talked to DJ Durkin, from Florida, and sent him my highlight tape and he said they were really interested in me, and he was going to come up here in the spring and talked to me about an offer," Harris added.

Harris hasn't made any plans to visit Florida yet, but said he will likely visit Oregon, Ole Miss and the Vols.

"I'm definitely going to visit Tennessee. I love their atmosphere down there. I went down there, actually when they played Auburn last year and I loved the atmosphere," Harris said. "I talked to Lance Thompson and he said the sooner you get down here the better."

After his spring visits, he plans to continue to work out and prepare himself for his senior season of football.

"My thing right now is just to stay focused, stay humble, don't let anything really change me. I'm going to be going pretty hard this offseason, trying to get my weight up, get in the weight room. For DBs you can always increase your speed, so I'm going to try and be increasing my speed as much as I can," Harris said.

One thing is for certain, Tennessee fans will be excited in one facet of his game that already exists and Harris plans to continue to work on.

"Keeping my hips fluid, you know, keeping my fluid hips and increasing my speed."

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