The first phase of Trent Dilfer's initial recruiting class was capped off on Thursday with the addition of defensive end Daniel Harris of Palm Bay High in Florida.
However, this is not just another member of what appears to be a strong recruiting class. This is an exclamation point. This is a 6-foot-6 defensive end with 4.4 speed. This player's reported offers included Tennessee, Arizona State, West Virginia, Mississippi State, Florida State, Auburn, South Carolina and USC.
He is ranked a four-star recruit by Rivals and three stars by ON3 and 247.
"He's an outstanding young man," said Palm Bay High coach Jake Owens. "He's an incredible player. He's a generational talent. He's definitely a kid who could be an NFL guy. He's long. He's fast. He's athletic. He really can play anywhere on the field."
Harris would have played on both sides of the football this season but a thumb injury in the second game ended his time at wide receiver. Some recruiters envisioned Harris as a wide receiver in college. Harris said there's no doubt that Harris will be an impact player on the defensive front.
"At the next level, in an even front, he can put his hand down on the ground," Owens said. "In an odd front, he could drop into coverage, he could rush off the edge, they could do a bunch of different things."
As of now, Harris weighs around 190 pounds. Owens said Harris has the potential to reach 230-240 pounds.
"He's got an incredible frame," Owens said. "He's really long. Usually, when you have guys really tall like that, their shoulders usually aren't developed well enough to carry that type of weight. Daniel's got really good shoulders. He's really broad. I'm going to tell you right now, they get 230-240 on him, he's going to be unstoppable. He already is. Down here, it's so hard to do that. He's playing basketball and football. It's so hard to get him into any kind of weight program, where you can put that kind of weight on him, with a meal plan and all the other stuff he'll be doing."
In high school, one of his biggest strengths is his speed. Owens said it wasn't uncommon for him to run ball carriers down on the opposite side of the field. He lined up on one edge, but Owens said he has sideline-to-sideline range.
"He's legit 4.4, and I'm talking about borderline 4.3," Owens said. "His stride is just insane. He's just so long and athletic, when he runs, his stride [is so long], he picks up three yards on every step. He's special."
Owens said Dilfer's experience as an NFL quarterback played a role in the recruitment. Dilfer visited the school just before UAB played in the Bahamas Bowl and Owens took his official visit last weekend.
"I've coached guys who play in the NFL right now and have played in the NFL before," Owens said. "He's definitely got that type of ability. That's why we are so excited about this. Obviously, with Coach Dilfer being an NFL guy, we felt very good about our relationship. We wanted Daniel to go somewhere that there were guys who understand what it takes to get to the NFL, what it takes to get to the next level. It was just a really good fit. Coach Dilfer came down here, and [we] hit it off. He's just a great guy, a really good football coach. He's very genuine, which is very important in this type of a process. Daniel just fell in love with him."
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