The numbers are ridiculous for Berea (Ky.) Madison Southern running back Damien Harris, and his reported 4.40 40 time is only the beginning of it. Here are some others: Harris ranks first on the June 247Sports Composite among players at his position for 2015, and carries a five-star rating. Of course, with those distinctions already in tow, it is probably no surprise that Harris is the No. 1 player in the state of Kentucky, and on top of that, considered to be among the 25 best players in the 2015 class, period.
As of June 2014, Harris has already turned those numbers into some very serious national attention, and has collected upwards of 20 offers. Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, Arkansas, USC and Florida are among those seeking his talents, as is home-state school Kentucky.
Why are schools so after Harris?
First, Harris has college-ready size at 5'11 and 200 pounds. There is certainty for college programs in knowing that Harris can take a pounding and keep running, and that he can be a feature back if need be.
I don't buy Harris' reported 4.40 speed, but he does have good wheels and is rarely caught from behind in his substantial highlight package.
Harris does not have the best moves, nor is he the most powerful runner. But he does do a lot of other things really well.
What I really like about Harris is his vision, feel and balance. He has a real understanding and feel for where the hole will open up, or where the cutback lane might emerge. And he has good balance and change-of-direction skills, allowing him to change course and hit the cutback.
Harris is a smart player who I believe will quickly pick up whatever college system he's in.
Ultimately, I do not see Harris as a transcendent running back, but rather one of the best in the country in what is clearly a very down year for running backs compared to previous classes. Nonetheless, I do believe he is capable of being a multi-year starter at the highest levels of college football.