By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Justin Harris put an end to the speculation as to where he will be playing football next fall.
The Etowah High School rising senior and All-Region cornerback recently committed to SEC member Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.
Harris sifted through approximately 30 scholarship offers, including ones from Virginia, Florida Atlantic, Purdue, Wake Forest and Pitt, before settling on Vanderbilt.
“I knew I wanted to go to a powerhouse football school and I knew I wanted to go somewhere with great academics,” he said. “Plus, playing in the SEC has always been my dream. I really liked the campus and the facilities and I could see myself playing with their coaches.”
The Commodores, who finished 5-7 overall and 1-7 in SEC action last year, recruited Harris as a safety but said that he could see some time at cornerback.
Harris, who is maintaining a 3.9 grade point average, plans on majoring in the engineering or medical fields.
Harris last season came up with three interceptions and 14 pass break-ups as the Blue Devils went 11-2, won the program’s first region title in six years and qualified for the state quarterfinals for the first time since 1999. Harris was a part of a 2017 Etowah defense that pitched three shutouts and allowed just 14.2 points per game.
“SEC football is a great opportunity for Justin, and he’ll play at the highest level in the country,” said Etowah head football coach Drew Noles. “He’s worked extremely hard for this opportunity, and you don’t go to Vanderbilt without having done things right in the classroom. He’s been a model student who has definitely been rewarded for all the hard work he’s put in.
“Justin’s a high-character person, which is what we want the kids on our program to be, and he’s someone the younger kids look up to. He’s a class act who is going to act right, and he’s the epitome of what we want our guys to look like. He knows that a degree from Vanderbilt will take him a long way.”
Harris is looking forward to his senior season, which includes a home opener against Gadsden City
“I definitely think our defense is pretty strong; we just have to find our identity on offense,” he said. “I think we’ll have to throw it a little bit more this year, but I still think we’ll still be fine.”