Louisiana’s top defensive back, Todd Harris, is nearing a decision.
Previously, Harris narrowed his top schools down to two — LSU and Ole Miss — but that was before making his first visit to Tuscaloosa, Ala., this week.
The 4-star safety left Alabama’s prospect camp with an offer in hand. It was Harris’ 19th reported offer and eighth from a SEC school.
The Plaquemine (La.) High School product was down to the Tigers and Rebels after making several visits to nearby Baton Rouge, La., dating back to the spring and a positively-reviewed visit to Ole Miss in June. After discussing his options with his family and high school football coach, Harris decided it was in his best interest to decide before the start of his senior season instead of his originally planned date at the Under Armour All-America Game in January.
The battle between LSU and Ole Miss took a turn on Wednesday night, though, as Harris landed a marquee offer from the defending national champions.
Alabama running backs coach and area recruiter Burton Burns had made several visits to Louisiana this spring and maintained constant communication with Harris about luring him to camp. After finally securing the offer from the Crimson Tide, it’s highly likely that Alabama replaces Ole Miss in Harris’ top two, leading to yet another battle between LSU and its SEC West rival for the prized safety recruit.
“Right now I’m really just favoring two schools, and that’s LSU and Ole Miss,” Harris revealed to SEC Country. “But once I get the ‘Bama offer, they’re going to hop right in no doubt.”
The 6-foot, 180-pound safety is very impressed with Alabama coach Nick Saban, which tends to be the case with many Louisiana prospects that grew up watching Saban coach and win a national championship at LSU. Saban nabbed yet another championship trophy in January, and sometimes that hardware speaks volumes in itself.
Consider Alabama on the same playing field as the in-state Tigers while Harris nears finalizing his decision. Harris has had an adequate amount of time to figure out where Alabama stands in his recruitment, but is it enough to knock LSU off the perch as the most probable landing spot?
“Well, they’re winning national championships, so that pretty much says it all right there,” Harris said. “Nick Saban is a great coach, so you’re going somewhere with a great coaching staff and you’re not selling yourself short. So Alabama will be just as high as LSU is for me right now.”
The nation’s No. 7-rated safety and Louisiana’s No. 3-rated prospect in the Class of 2017 could announce anytime between this week and the end of August, right before Plaquemine High School kicks off its promising 2016 season. After spending the early portion of the week in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Harris will now be back on LSU’s campus for the next few days emerged with the Tigers coaching staff, most notably defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and defensive backs coach Corey Raymond, who have spearheaded his recruitment.
Harris has an uncanny relationship with Raymond. The elite safety watched Raymond work with LSU’s current defensive backs during spring practices in March and April, and was thoroughly impressed with his coaching style and the way the coaches performed during the spring game. It’s clear that the team’s “DBU” reputation and the hometown feel bodes well for LSU’s chances of eventually landing Harris once he settles in on his decision.
In fact, Harris may be inclined to decide as early as this week at LSU’s elite prospect camp. He’ll be surrounded by not only the LSU coaching staff, but some of the team’s top 2017 commitments and other upper-echelon targets. For instance, Harris will be joined by his best friend and LSU linebacker commit Patrick Queen, but also get an opportunity to see prospects such as 5-star defensive tackle Marvin Wilson, 5-star running back Cam Akers and 4-star outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson on Saturday during the team’s newly implemented recruit barbecue.
The bottom line here is that Harris has always had a higher level of comfortability with LSU than any other school. He has a desire to compete in the SEC, which is why Ole Miss made a valiant run and the Crimson Tide have emerged, too. A source told SEC Country that Harris knew he wanted to play for the Tigers the first time he stepped onto the field at LSU. As he inches toward making a commitment, it would be difficult for any school — even ‘Bama — to rival that kind of intuition.
Sam Spiegelman covers LSU football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Tiger Stadium.