Damien Harris previews top 8, talks Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame

The top running back in the 2015 class shares his thoughts on a few top programs as well as what he's looking for in his college choice.

Though he was unable to participate in Sunday's drills due to a recent minor elbow surgery, five-star Berea, Ky. running back Damien Harris was in attendance at the Columbus Nike NFTC camp to take things in.

"[I've recently] worked on pass protection. Catching out of the backfield. Just some things that take your game to the next level," the 5'11, 205-pound running back said about how he's been working to get better in the lead-up to his senior season. Harris in particular mentioned he was being critical of himself in an effort to not just be a good back, but become a great back.

While he has no leader at this point in his process, Harris told SB Nation's Bud Elliott that he's recently been talking to Notre Dame. He also singled out Michigan, whom he was committed to prior to the departure of former offensive coordinator Al Borges, Ohio State, Alabama and Oklahoma as other programs he's been in contact with lately.

As Harris prepares to unveil a top-eight list of schools later this week, he spoke about his relationship with a few of the coaching staffs recruiting him.

"The coaches at Ohio State — Coach Meyer, Coach Hinton, Coach Drayton — I've talked to them for a long time. But you know Coach Nussmeier at Michigan, he hasn't been there for very long. I'm just now starting to build a relationship with him," Harris told SB Nation.

Though Harris had long been expected to announce his decision on National Signing Day 2015, his thought process has recently changed, with him perhaps favoring committing sooner and enrolling early at his school of choice.

"It's not a set decision yet, but maybe it'd just be better to enroll early so I can get better in the system I'm going to be in, pick up the plays and get on the field early," Harris added.

While he indicated Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame were likely locks to make his final eight list of schools, he did concede that there'd be at least one surprise team or two.

"There's definitely a few. I know there's one in particular everyone's going to be shocked by."

In terms of what he's looking for to help guide his decision-making process, Harris spoke of the importance of the student aspect of being a prospective student-athlete.

"Obviously a great education [is the first thing I'm looking for in a school]. That's first. That's most important. I want to get a good degree that has a lot of value. Later on down the road, after football ends, I'll have something to stand on."

He also stated that a family feel was important and that he was looking for a program that wouldn't just develop him on the football field, but off it as well.

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