A simple insult ignited Lincoln Prep senior Charles Harris’ football career.
By SAM McDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
Sitting in a football meeting one afternoon in his junior year — even though he wasn’t on the football team — Harris was heckled by a few of the players, who told him he was too scared to set foot on the football field.
The following day, Harris approached Lincoln Prep football coach Lee Allen with a demand.
“I’m playing,” he said. “Find a spot for me.”
Thrilled, Allen handed Harris some pads and tried him out on the defensive line. He hasn’t left since.
Eighteen sacks and 100 tackles later, Harris earned a college scholarship from that insult — he signed Wednesday with Missouri.
“I could tell right away that I was stronger and more physical than the other guys,” Harris said. “I knew I could really do something with this.”
Harris grew up playing basketball, and he’s the leading scorer for the Lincoln Prep basketball team this season.
Harris, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound defensive end, said he was set to attend Missouri Western before receiving a phone call last week from Missouri assistant Andy Hill.
Hill offered him a scholarship Monday, Harris said.
“I said yes right away,” Harris said. “That’s where I wanted to go all along. I was just waiting for that phone call.”
Lee signs with Missouri
Grandview senior Ryan Lee is still four months shy of a high school diploma, but he says he feels like a veteran on the baseball field.
Perhaps that’s because he got started at such an early age. Tired of watching their son run around the back yard with a bat in his hands, Lee’s parents signed him up for a T-ball league when he was 4 years old — two years younger than the rest of the league’s players.
Some 14 years later, Lee has transformed into one of the best pitchers in the Kansas City area.
He signed a letter of intent Wednesday to attend Missouri.
A right-handed pitcher, Lee said Kansas State and Michigan State also showed interest.
“It’s definitely the biggest decision I’ve ever made in my life — I’m very happy with it,” said Lee, who grew up a Tigers fan. “I don’t want to sound cocky, but I’ve been expecting something big to happen. It feels like a weight off my shoulders now that it’s here.”
Lee is primarily a fastball pitcher. He has been clocked in the low 90s. He also throws a curveball, slider and changeup, he said.
The quarterback for the football team, Lee said he received Division II offers to play football.
Lineman off to Nebraska
It’s been half a year since Rockhurst senior Zach Hannon committed to Nebraska, but he still wanted to enjoy national signing day like his fellow top recruits.
So he decided to don a cap — the fashionable way to declare a college choice these days.
Except he only had one hat. Hannon made his commitment to Nebraska official Wednesday, signing a letter of intent to join the Cornhuskers in the fall.
“I know there wasn’t much suspense about where I was going, but it’s still a big honor,” Hannon said. “I feel really blessed. Signing to play college football, I’m just overjoyed.”
It’s long been an aspiration for Hannon, who said he dreamed of reaching college football — and the NFL — before he started playing the game.
He’ll be joined at Nebraska by Center High School defensive tackle Maliek Collins.
Hannon shared his signing ceremony with five of his Rockhurst teammates, including Kansas State signee Jordan Willis.