Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jacksonville Jaguars running back DuJuan Harris visits Hernando school

SPRING HILL — The Fox Chapel Middle School football team gathered in the cafeteria recently to hear Jacksonville Jaguars rookie DuJuan Harris tell them about the job many of them would like to have someday.

The NFL running back said he had wanted to be a professional football player since he was a student at Pine Grove Elementary School. Harris, 23, then asked for a show of hands as to who wanted to play professional ball. More than half the hands shot up.

"If you want to be great, it's a lot of work. It's real tough," Harris said. "It all starts where you are right now. You've got to take care of your body.

"Don't eat a lot of junk food. You can't be eating candy all the time. Don't eat out too much. Definitely eat breakfast. You've got to eat good food. You've got to feed your body."

Harris said he ran track to build his speed. He started lifting weights when he got to Central High School, after West Hernando Middle School.

Also important, Harris said, is building relationships.

"I had a great relationship with all my teachers," he said.

Then, when he needed help, they were happy to give it.

He also noted that young people need to be willing to seek help. "Don't be embarrassed to ask," he said.

Harris stressed the importance of education and appropriate behavior.

"If you like playing football, keep your grades up," he said.

He cautioned the students about the dangers of bad choices.

"That's not the kind of life I wanted," he said. "You've got to be strong-minded because you're going to be around a lot of negativity."

His motto, he said, is "Control the things you can control."

Harris attended Troy University in Troy, Ala., and plans to take the nine credit hours he needs to earn his criminal justice degree this summer.

As a product of the Hernando County school district, Harris said he stopped by Fox Chapel to give back to the community.

"Kids need someone to look up to," he said. "I'm here to let them know there is hope (and) to keep their dreams alive.

"This is home. I grew up here."

That was obvious when Fox Chapel sixth-grade math teacher Gina Hall stopped to greet him.

"Your mom keeps me informed in the beauty shop," Hall told Harris.

Jacksonville Jaguars running back DuJuan Harris visits Hernando school 02/15/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 3:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Who is Alejandro Villanueva, the Steelers player and veteran who stood alone? Here's why he has the NFL's top-selling jersey today


    CHICAGO — When the national anthem started at Soldier Field on Sunday, the visiting sideline was mostly empty. The most prominent evidence of the Pittsburgh Steelers was offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva, a former Army Ranger, standing all by himself near the tunnel, holding his right hand over his heart.

    Alejandro Villanueva stands alone during the national anthem at Soldier Field in Chicago. [Associated Press]
  2. 'Battle of the Sexes' is a fine time capsule comedy, and not really about the tennis


    In 1973, tennis champion Billie Jean King joined a two-ring circus with hustler Bobby Riggs, billed as a Battle of the Sexes amid the women's liberation movement. Fifty million Americans watched the pop spectacle on TV.

    Emma Stone and Steve Carell in the film "Battle of the Sexes." [Fox Searchlight Pictures.]
  3. Hillsborough will not add extra days for storm


    Public school students in Hillsborough County do not have to come to school for additional days to make up for time missed in Hurricane Irma, the district announced Monday.

  4. Tom Cruise's son Connor Cruise to DJ Halloween party at Tampa's Hard Rock Cafe


    Whenever Tom Cruise comes to Clearwater on Church of Scientology business, he keeps a low profile. Occasionally he'll Connor Cruise attended Wild 94.1 Wild Splash in 2016.

  5. Bicyclist struck in St. Petersburg dies as result of injuries


    ST. PETERSBURG — A bicyclist who police said ran a red light and was struck by a car last week died over the weekend.