By LARRY VAUGHT
While it might seem that running track would be a break from the recruiting pressure, it does not always turn out that way for Madison Southern junior Damien Harris, the nation’s top-rated running back in the 2015 recruiting class.
“It is in a way, but at the same time it is not because most schools want to hear my track times. Sometimes if a coach comes on a specific day for spring ball, if I have practice and then a meet that night they will stick around for the meet to watch me run,” Harris said. “I kind of get away from it (at track), but at the same time I don’t. I don’t complain about it. I am blessed to be in the situation I am in. I try not to complain as much as possible because I know how blessed I am.”
He appreciates that his Madison Southern teammates do not treat him special.
“That is how I am with my friends. I don’t expect them to treat me any different and don’t want them to treat me any different,” Harris said. “Of course, they always throw something in there like, ‘Oh yeah, you are the No. 1 running back in the country.’ But they know I am not above and beyond anybody.
“They know I don’t think I am above them, so they just treat me like anybody else, which I am. I love that about all my friends. They don’t put me on a pedestal that I don’t want to be on. I am thankful for that.”
But many others do put him a pedestal. The nation’s elite coaches want him to play for their school and they are going to continue to treat him like royalty, especially since he’s not likely to make any quick recruiting decision.
“I am under a microscope for sure. Every move I make is watched, but I am taking responsibility and I am accountable for all my actions,” Harris, who had UK coaches watch his high school’s spring game, said. “I like to take responsibility and not try to be like, ‘Why do I have to be in the spotlight?’ I just accept it as a blessing and take it and do what I can with it. But it’s hard knowing coaches and everybody else are just scrutinizing every little thing that I do.
“I am not rushing to make any decisions. I know how important this is and I have to make sure I get this right. I just have to stay patient, doing what I do and make sure I enjoy every day and enjoy this whole process because I know I am lucky to be where I am.”