De'Vante Harris keeps getting bigger
Four-star CB goes from a scrawny freshman to an Under Armour All-American
MESQUITE, Texas -- Messquite (Texas) Horn coach Rodney Webb was quite candid when sharing his first impression of De'Vante Harris to the entire school.
"When he was a freshman, he didn't look like a freshman," Webb said. "He looked like he was in the fourth grade."
Harris strolled onto the practice field that day with a very unimposing frame and the confidence of a Heisman candidate.
"I may have been a little cocky but it gave me my work ethic. It gave me my drive," Harris said.
After Harris was given his honorary game jersey Friday, Webb went on to describe Harris as a model of perseverance -- rising above his situation to achieve his goals to be a starter for Horn and to move on to play FBS football at Oklahoma.
His dedication began in the weight room, working out 12 months of the year. He told his coaches his dreams of colligate ball from Day 1 and they put in the effort to train him in hopes that he would gain a little size before he graduated.
It finally clicked for Harris during his junior season against Tyler Lee High School. Harris said the game slowed down and everything worked flawlessly for him. It seemed so easy when he took an interception 99 yards for a pick-six.
"I was like, 'If I just do this every game I know I can be on the All-American team, I can get that big time scholarship,'" Harris said. "After that, it was all history."
Webb finally realized Harris' real potential during his junior year as well when Harris matched up against Horn's receiving corps.
"We had two [FBS] receivers -- JaCorey Shepherd, who's at Kansas now, and Jakeem Grant, who is at [Texas] Tech," Webb said. "We knew those guys were [FBS] players and Harris could cover either one of them like nothing. He was very frustrating to JaCorey because he was used to having a lot of success and he couldn't beat De'Vante in coverage."
A year later, Harris is following their lead, extending Horn's reach across the Big 12 at Oklahoma.
"I love what they are all about," Harris said. "It fits the kind of player I'm all about."
It also doesn't hurt that Harris can get a quality degree in his preferred choices of study, broadcast journalism or kinesiology.
Harris has also had some time to befriend others who will be a part of his recruiting class at Oklahoma via recruiting trips and social media.
"It's like a family," Harris said. "We haven't even stepped on campus and we're already like a family. Coming in we've got to be able to win and you can't win without a family."
Before he even has time to think about a Red River Rivalry game, he has a plane ticket booked to St. Petersburg, Fla., to play in the 2012 Under Armor All-America Game, January 5 at Tropicana Field.
He said he looks forward to playing along side some of the other stars of the Dallas-Fort Worth area that he has befriended over the past four years, but more importantly, he looks forward to the friendly trash-talking that will naturally ensue.
"We have all the top talent in this game," he said. "I grew up watching the Under Armor Game, so this is a dream come true."
Travis L. Brown covers high schools for ESPNDallas.com.