Quarterback Harris humble in life

FOCUSED IN: Jacory Harris awaits a snap against Charleston Southern earlier this season. Harris has won the ACC’s “Rookie of the Week” award three times this year, and has twice led the Hurricanes to victory after coming from behind late in the game. File Photo // Steve Root.

Everyone has something to motivate them in life. Some are inspired to have a dignified job and others dream of a perfect family. Many grind hard for family or friends, while another group strives for a higher education.

Jacory Harris believes in all of the above, with one particular person motivating him every step of the way.

One of Harris’s best friends, James Anderson, was shot and killed during Harris’s sophomore year of high school. Harris and Anderson were best friends since the third grade and shared a strong bond that carried over on and off the field.

“He is truly my inspiration,” Harris said. “He was always with me since day one. That is someone I [have] been playing for.”

Anderson’s tragedy and Harris’s father have shaped Harris into the person he is today. No one has made a bigger impact on Harris’s life than his father.

“My father is my idol,” the freshman quarterback said. “He has shown me he is a strong man. Most people don’t grow up with a father, especially in the neighborhood we come from. Like Marcus Forston, he didn’t grow up with a father. I’m one of those lucky few.”

With the help and inspiration of his father, Harris learned how to play football at local parks. However, it wasn’t love at first sight for Harris.

“I hated football,” Harris said, laughing. “There was too much running. I use to cry a lot. I grew to love it. I use to play defensive end, offensive tackle, basically every position except quarterback.”

Even though Harris is a star quarterback at the University of Miami, there is a soft spot in Harris’s heart for basketball. Whenever he gets a chance, he will go to the Wellness Center and shoot a couple jump shots.

But don’t expect to see Harris get into any pick-up games, as he would never do anything to jeopardize his football game or get into any sort of trouble.

“We share our love of basketball together,” head coach Randy Shannon said. “Jacory is kind of a funny guy, always happy-go-lucky. He is up-spirited and always upbeat. He is always positive.”

To this end, Harris tries to surround himself with positive people. To Harris, all his teammates are like his brothers, and he doesn’t neglect his loving parents.

Although Harris is perceived by his time on the field, it is his off-the-field personality that sets the tone for how he is come gametime. Off the field, Harris is a laid back young man who enjoys what every day brings. His number one goal at Miami is to do well academically and get his degree, so he can one day become a sports agent. Harris also has aspiration of playing in the NFL after graduation.

On the field, Harris thrives, always appearing calm and collected. In the past three games, he is 34 for 57 for 486 yards and has netted seven total touchdowns. He also has two come-from-behind victories.

“The atmosphere when you’re out there in the field, just knowing thousands of fans, millions of viewers are watching you and you’re just having fun, I love it.” Harris said.

To go along with his clutch play, Harris wants to be remembered as someone who stayed composed despite circumstances that come his way.

“I just want to be remembered as that person, no matter on or off the field, who remains calm,” he said.

His “go hard” Mohawk and play on the field is representative of this. The patterns in his hair have characteristics like those of a jaguar. Harris is calm, smooth and sleek but can strike a team with a touchdown pass at any instant. But the number one thing Harris and the big cat have in common? They both sleep a lot.

“I just sleep a lot,” Harris laughed. “I mean, I sleep a lot.”