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Brandon Harris commits to LSU over Auburn, Ohio State

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The Tigers landed one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country on Thursday afternoon.

Brandon Harris
Brandon Harris
Wescott Eberts (SB Nation)

Bossier City (La.) Parkway quarterback Brandon Harris committed to his home-state LSU Tigers on Thursday in an announcement at his high school, opting to stay in the state of Louisiana instead of playing for either of his other two finalists, Auburn and Ohio State.

"I like the competition at quarterback and I can enroll early in December and compete for the starting job immediately," said Harris moments after his announcement.

Harris indicated that he knew where he wanted to go nearly two months ago.

"I was talking to my brother about it. We went to Ohio State, we went to Alabama, we went to all these other schools. I went to LSU on May 25th, it was just a different vibe. When I went to all the other places, I didn't feel that vibe. With offensive coordinator Cam Cameron's ability to coach quarterbacks at a high level, I knew that's where I wanted to be," Harris said before rattling off a number of quarterbacks Cameron has coached, especially in the NFL.

Harris added that with all the talent coming out of Louisiana, he knew that he wanted make his name in his home state somewhere that he could have his family and friends come see him play. Later in his interview, he said that the talent in Louisiana that will likely stay at home made him want to stay in the state -- he would rather play with those exceptional athletes instead of against them.

A consensus four-star prospect, Harris is ranked as the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback nationally in the 247Sports composite rankings. Considered a top-100 player nationally and a top-10 player in a loaded class in Louisiana, Harris is the highest-ranked quarterback to come out of Louisiana in almost a decade. A relative unknown as recently as February, his recruitment took off during the spring, with the 6'3, 195-pounder eventually amassing nearly 20 offers, including invitations to play at Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, Mississippi State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ole Miss, South Carolina, and Texas A&M, among others.

The most recent trip for Harris was a stop in Baton Rouge to take in a loaded LSU camp that featured a number of players who could eventually join him in the class. As the quarterback take for the Tigers, the presence of Harris could help head coach Les Miles and his staff close on elite in-state wide receiver prospects like Speedy Noil, Malachi Dupre, and Trey Quinn. Harris said he already started recruiting players at that camp and was texting with Quinn for several hours on Wednesday evening.

Harris was one of the surprising omissions from the Elite 11 finals, as head coach Trent Dilfer opted to take several more refined prospects with lower upside. A raw passer who would have benefited tremendously from the high-level instruction provided by the Elite 11 staff, Harris was still able to flash his tremendous arm talent and natural arm strength at the Dallas Elite 11 camp.

Mechanically, he needs to clean up his footwork, often throwing off his back foot and dragging his hips through his motion, as well as occasionally dropping his arm slot, a mechanical deficiency that often gets overblown, but can be a problem when the pocket collapses.

As a projected spread quarterback who will use the threat of the run game to help in the passing game, Harris shows evidence of strong ball-handling ability that helps spring his high school wide receivers down the field. In the running game, Harris is a plus athlete, though he could benefit from time in a college strength training program to help him finish runs with more power from this lower body.

All told, Harris has tremendous natural ability, including arm talent, big hands to allow him to execute pump fakes that would result in other quarterbacks losing the football, ball-handling ability, and athleticism to make off-schedule plays in the run game, as well as execute the traditional plays in the quarterback run game.

He needs some quarterback coaching, but the lack of it hasn't kept him from elevating himself to one of the top dual-threat quarterback prospects in the country and making big plays on the field in the fall.

Perhaps the biggest question is how much LSU will change the offense to fit his skillset -- there's some precedence for using a running quarterback recently in Jordan Jefferson and Ryan Perrilloux before him, but the Tigers have been known for a rather conservative, mostly pro-style attack in recent years, one that certainly would not highlight the running ability of Harris to the extent possible.

"The offensive scheme is similar to ours -- a vertical passing game like we run at Parkway. It fits to my strengths. With my ability as a runner, it brings a different dimension and defenses can't drop off in coverage because I can take off and run if they do that," Harris said.

It will be an interesting storyline to watch as Harris goes through his career at LSU. Right now, however, the staff is focused on closing the 2014 class strong. It currently stands at 14 commits and will receive a boost from Harris' commitment after sitting at No. 14 nationally and seventh in the SEC to start the day. In fact, the Tigers moved up to No. 11 in the team rankings after the pledge from the dynamic quarterback, putting them ahead of Ole Miss and Kentucky to sit fifth in the SEC.

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