September 8, 2008

Sooner Commits Helps Season-Opening Win

LAWTON, Okla. - It's gone virtually unnoticed but since the arrival of Ernie Manning few programs in the state have produced more Sooners than the Lawton MacArthur Highlanders, and perhaps none have produced a player the likes of Jammal Brown for Oklahoma. While it's a lofty bar for current 'Big Mac' product, and Sooner commitment, Javon Harris it's certainly not a responsibility he'll shy away from.

The Sooner defensive back prospect stars for Manning on both sides of the ball as a starting safety as well as a running back and during the Highlanders 20-8 win over a surely travel-weary group of Coweta Tigers made plays on both sides of the ball.

Harris, as with the rest of the Highlander offense, struggled in the first half to get much of anything going. Runs up the middle, screen passes, toss plays, you name it MacArthur tried it but with an offense full of skill position experience and short on veterans along the front, save three-star offensive lineman Stetson Burnett.

However, as the second half began Rashaud Foreman took the second-half's opening kick-off 65-yards deep into Coweta territory that started a short drive that would be capped by Harris' 5-yard touchdown run.

Throughout the game at safety Harris showed an ability to work both as a cornerback as well as a safety, though his work at corner was exclusively covering slot receivers and helping his team in deep coverage from his free safety spot. His skill set is eerily similar to that of former Sooner Darien Willams who started his career as a cornerback before shifting to safety.

While Harris may be a bit longer, and slightly more athletic than the Dallas area product it's a comparison that isn't far off.

Harris has the feet of an upper-echelon defensive back, but is a bit of a long-strider that may hurt the ever growing speculation that he could be a corner under defensive backs coach Bobby Jack Wright. What isn't up in the air is that Harris has a real talent to help the Sooners after spending some time bulking up and figuring out his role within the defense.

The fact that he has already made several trips to Norman including catching both Sooner home games so far this year says that Harris is more than willing to learn by watching. Add in that he'll be a December graduate and the Sooners could have a player ready to help even more readily than they realize.

Not Mac's Only Star

Aside from Burnett, and Foreman Harris was also joined by senior linebacker Julian Jones who may not have an equal in the state of Oklahoma when it comes to the eyeball test. At 6-foot-3, and 250-pounds it's entirely possible Jones is going to grow into a defensive end and if he can some team may have a real steal with his huge frame and athleticism.

Burnett is a player that was impressive at several camps earlier this summer and did nothing to hurt his growing reputation by his performance against Coweta on Thursday night. The Tigers lacked anyone who was capable of overpowering him but had several players who tried to run around him and each was met with Burnett standing in the path.

He is a guard at the next level but has the feet to be a very good offensive tackle at the high school level.

MacArthur's coaching staff is always honest about what talent they do, or do not, have but may have undersold what they have in the previously mentioned Foreman. There are a lot of solid comparisons, but maybe it's his number that causes such vivid memories of former Sooner wide receiver Damian Mackey.

Like Mackey, Foreman doesn't possess blazing speed or a great physical presence but he runs so smoothly and changes direction with such fluidity it's easy to mistake him for a much faster guy.

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