When three-star linebacker De’jon Harris committed to Arkansas last May, he admitted he pulled the trigger so early to secure a spot in the Razorbacks’ signing class.
He still looked around and took several visits in the final weeks before National Signing Day, but ultimately, Arkansas was the school for him. In about two months, he’ll take the next step, as he reports to Fayetteville, Ark., to begin his collegiate career.
Harris recently spoke with SEC Country about the ins and outs of his recruitment:
Q: If you could give a junior only one piece of advice about the recruiting process, what would it be?
A: The juniors that are coming through on my team, they’re highly recruited, all eight of them, so they come to me with questions. I tell them to take their time. They don’t really have to rush anything. Some people say they have dream schools. If that’s your dream school offering you then go, but just take your time and let everything play out. Everything is different when you go on your visits. It’s a long process. Some things may come later than others, so you may want to wait it out.
Q: What school came in second? What could they have done a little better?
A: It probably was Colorado. With Colorado, it was just the distance thing. Everything was good with them and I had a good relationship with the coaching staff and I enjoyed my visit, but it was just too far away from home. I didn’t feel comfortable going that far.
Q: You made some visits late in the process. How much did you really consider flipping to another school?
A: There really wasn’t much of a threat. I wasn’t planning on de-committing unless someone really changed my mind. If Colorado couldn’t do it, I was going to stick with Arkansas.
Q: What was the biggest rumor about you that wasn’t true?
A: Late in November, they said Texas A&M was about to offer me because my cousin, Michael [Divinity], was between Texas A&M and LSU. Texas A&M was going to offer me to get Michael, and that was wrong.
Q: What’s the biggest secret you kept during the recruiting process?
A: It was probably my cousin, Michael [Divinity], going to LSU.
Q: What is the funniest thing any head coach said to you during the entire recruiting process, either on the phone or in person?
A: Coach (Bielema) from Arkansas asked me what number I wanted, and I told him No. 8. He was trying to get me No. 4, but I was going to take No. 2 my sophomore year when D.J. Dean graduates. He was like, in order for me to get No. 2 my sophomore year he had to stop hearing about all these Alabama shenanigans.
Q: What was your biggest regret during the recruiting process?
A: I don’t regret it, but when I first committed, there are a lot of things that schools don’t like that I didn’t know of. At first, they didn’t want me to go on my official visits.
Q: Which school disappointed you the most during recruiting?
A: Oregon, because around last spring I was telling them that because my recruitment wasn’t going so well that I was going to commit to either Arkansas or them to secure a spot just in case I didn’t get anything else. So when I committed to Arkansas, (Oregon) had a problem with it. I went up there in late September, and they were just giving us all this good stuff about them that their coaching staff had been together for years. About a month later, my recruiting coach was gone, and the other coach that came to see me was gone.
Q: Which college would you have considered more seriously if they had offered you earlier in the process?
A: My dream school was to go to USC. One of the coaches followed me on Twitter, but he wasn’t communicating with me that much. That’s really what I was considering at first.
Q: How much negative recruiting was out there?
A: You get that a lot from a lot of programs, but with Arkansas, Colorado and Alabama, they were different. They don’t talk about other programs because they know what they have with their facilities and programs. I got that a lot with other schools though.
Q: What other schools did you hear it a lot from?
A: Man, I forgot the schools names. But it was a lot of stuff that the coaches are going to go take a job somewhere and the program is not this good. You know how that goes.
Q: If you were in charge of the NCAA, what’s the one rule you would change with recruiting?
A: Probably offering early. I think a lot of schools offer too many guys too early. I think they offer them because they see potential, but a lot of guys don’t actually come out to be what they want them to be.