TAMPA — USF coach Willie Taggart’s recruiting momentum continues to build on a local level, as the Bulls picked up another top area commitment Wednesday when Hillsborough linebacker Nigel Harris committed.
“They have great facilities and resources I can use to make me a better person and player,” said Harris, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound senior who carries a weighted GPA above 4.0 and plans to study engineering at USF.
“That’s a major part of this whole thing, getting your degree.”
Harris earned first-team Class 6A all-state honors after leading Hillsborough in tackles for the second year in a row, and he shined on offense at running back. Harris had 16 scholarship offers, including Syracuse, Purdue, Pittsburgh and Vanderbilt. He said his decision came down to USF and Wake Forest.
“Nigel’s the total package. He’s one of the most productive two-way players I’ve ever had,” Hillsborough coach Earl Garcia said. “He’s an absolute warrior and a pleasure to coach. Very bright football player and a tough guy. I’m going to miss him.”
Harris continues a strong local pipeline for Hillsborough and USF — he follows the same path as Terriers standouts Lindsey Lamar and Terrence Mitchell. He’s the second linebacker from Tampa to join USF’s recruiting class, along with Plant’s Mitchell Wright.
USF’s incoming recruiting class now includes eight players from the top 50 in the Times’ HomeTeam 100 for 2012 — Harris ranked 19th on that list, with only Countryside defensive end Mike Love (12) ahead of him.
Harris is a three-star recruit by all the major recruiting sites, and 247sports.com lists him as the No. 75 overall prospect in the state for 2012. Among USF’s commitments, only Bradenton Manatee defensive tackle Derrick Calloway (64th) is rated higher.