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New Sooner Nic Harris excited about new digs
Nic Harris - photo by The Alexandria Town Talk
Oklahomaâ€™s offseason summer training session is underway and young players like Nic Harris are getting their first taste of what being a Sooner is all about. Harris, a highly-touted 6-foot-3, 205-pound safety from Alexandria, La., figures to vie for playing time in the OU secondary this fall.
Sooner Spectatorâ€™s Mark Stack caught up with Harris earlier this week and talked to him about football, school and the life of a budding young star...
Sooner Spectator: Your high school coach has mentioned that you are going to college to get your education, but football was the means to get it. So how much are you looking forward to the college experience?
NIC HARRIS: I am extremely excited about getting an education here at OU. My degree will be my backup plan. I mean everyone has their dreams of playing football, but I need to get my education. It's academics first, football second. So I'm here to gain my education and do what I need to do, and that's taking care of everything including school and football. But gaining a college education is important so you can establish yourself in society, in this community, and to be a productive person in this world.
SS: You finished your senior year of high school with a 4.0 GPA. How proud were you and your family to be able to achieve something like that with the whirlwind of recruiting and signing going on throughout the year?
HARRIS: My family has always supported me, like when I broke my ankle (last year) and was down in the dumps. They supported me in whatever I wanted to do and when I wanted to do it. If I called my parents today and told them I didn't want to play football, they wouldn't spite me for it because they are proud of me for what I have accomplished through the adversity of which I came. They are extremely proud of me, and getting the 4.0 was hard. But if it was easy, it wouldn't be worth anything. I want it to be hard, and if I were to go back and do it again, I wouldn't want it any other way. It only makes you better and stronger.
SS: What are your expectations as a player at OU?
HARRIS: You really can't tell. I'm an incoming freshman trying to learn and trying to establish myself with these people and the community. I'm in a different environment, and have to take it one step at a time. But I plan to come in here and do the best that I can. I'm coming here to play, that's the reason they recruited me. If it's limited time, if it's starting or just one or two plays here and there, I'm going to make the best of any chance I get.
SS: With the team losing both safeties in Brodney Pool and DontÃ© Nicholson, do you feel you have a chance to come in get significant playing time?
HARRIS: I feel I have an opportunity to play. They wouldn't have recruited me if they didn't feel I could come in and play as a freshman or in a year or so. You know, I'm just trying to contribute to the team in any way to make us better.
SS: OU has had several good safeties through the years. Is there anyone you can compare your game to, like a Brodney Pool or Roy Williams?
HARRIS: Not Really. I'm a Nic Harris-type player. I have some of the qualities that made those two good players. But really I'm just trying to be me, and not try to pattern myself after someone I'm not.
SS: You had a good career as a tailback in high school before suffering that ankle injury that made you switch positions. Was it difficult to make that transition, and do you miss running the ball?
HARRIS: Naturally, coming up as a football player, basketball player, baseball â€” whatever it is, you are going to want the ball in your hands. You want the opportunity to be in the limelight. I miss them giving me the rock all the time, you know 35-45 carries a game and putting up all the yards rushing. But if I can get 10 or 12 interceptions a season, that's just as comparable as gaining 2,000 yards rushing and getting 30-something touchdowns. So I can make just as much of an impact as I did before. But no matter what side of the ball, if they want me to be a receiver or something, I'm here for the team and to do whatever they ask of me.
SS: As a Louisiana native, was it a difficult decision to leave the state and play for Oklahoma?
HARRIS: No, it was never a difficult decision for me to leave the state. The way I look at it as, is that I'm being given the opportunity to play for one of the most elite football programs and academic programs in the country. So I don't think that it was a hard decision at all. You are going to catch hype of â€˜Oh, why aren't you a Tiger?â€™ And you are going to walk into places, and being from Louisiana, you are going to hear â€˜Tiger bait, Tiger bait!â€™ The only thing I do is comeback at them with â€˜Boomer Sooner!â€™ They can say what they want, but I'm going to Norman. Me being one of the biggest instate prospects, it's going to happen. But I had to make a decision for myself about where I needed to be, and I made the right decision.
SS: Did you receive the same treatment from your local community or were they a lot more supportive?
HARRIS: My community treated me extremely well. They were over-ecstatic because coming out of my area in central Louisiana, I was one of the top prospects to come out of there in the past 15 or 20 years. And they were extremely proud of me just getting offers from schools around the country. Any decision I would have made about where I would play, they would've been behind me 100 percent.
SS: Who is your favorite musical artist?
HARRIS: I'm going to be sensible and say â€˜John Legend.â€™
SS: What is your favorite food?
HARRIS: Oh man, I crave fried pork chops.
SS: Favorite football team and favorite player?
HARRIS: I'm going with America's team as my favorite, the Dallas Cowboys. And my favorite player would be Sean Taylor.
SS: Xbox or Playstation 2?
HARRIS: Oh come on man, Playstation 2. Not close.
SS: What game?
HARRIS: NCAA 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and beyond. I live for that game.
SS: Will you be on the cover one day?
HARRIS: That is a good question. I'll say this, if by getting the opportunity to play, and by me playing I put up great numbers and by me putting up great numbers then yes, I will be on the cover one day.
SS: What number would you have liked to wear and what number will you be wearing this year?
HARRIS: My number is 5, but I would have liked the number 3 which was my high school number.