Damien Harris is on the short list for the nation’s top running back in 2015.
Harris has already rushed for 671 yards and 13 TDs through three games this fall. He's also added two receiving scores.
Already holding seven scholarship offers from the likes of Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Syracuse and Tennessee, the Berea (Ky.) Madison Southern sophomore has been phenomenal in three games this fall, with his eye-popping performance last Friday taking the cake.
The 5-foot-11, 201-pound Harris used his 4.4 speed to rush 14 times for 209 yards and five touchdowns in a 71-21 win over Powell County. He added another two receptions for 89 yards and two scores in just a little over two quarters of work.
“I’ve never seen anyone dominate a game like that,” Madison Southern Coach Jon Clark said. He’s been coaching for a decade. “He played out of his mind. The game’s first five offensive plays he had three touchdowns. Two ended up getting called back because of penalties.”
Also holding offers from Fresno State and Wake Forest, Harris put himself on the map as a freshman gaining 742 yards on just 62 carries and scoring 11 touchdowns. He went to camp this summer and earned his offers from the Wildcats, Wolverines and Vols coaching staffs in person.
After missing the season opener recovering from a shoulder injury, Harris ran for 254 yards and five touchdowns in a 47-0 win over Lynn Camp. He followed that up the next week with a 20 carry, 208-yard, three-touchdown game in a 22-21 defeat to Wayne County.
“He’s so much more physical,” Clark stated. “Last year he did a lot of making people miss. He’s running people over this year. He’s bigger and stronger. He’s up to 205. He’s faster than last year and he’s so much more physical this year.”
Harris is also improving with his mental approach.
“Student of the game,” Clark said. “Watches hours of film a week. Most sophomore running backs I’ve been around don’t really know blocking assignments and plays. He’s a student of the game like you want your quarterback to be, and he knows why you run certain plays against certain fronts. His football IQ is drastically improving.”
Then there’s the weight room for Harris.
“Before he was a three-sport athlete and never lifted. Now he’s lifting every day and he’s power cleaning 260.”
Oregon is the latest program to reach out to Clark about recruiting Harris. Harris got a chance to visit Louisville for the Cardinals season-opening win over Kentucky. Michigan was the program that might have impressed Harris the most during his summer visits, and according to Clark, he’s aiming to get back to Ann Arbor for the Michigan State game on Oct. 20.