Missouri reached across the state line again to pluck one of the top football recruits from Johnson County on Tuesday when Blue Valley junior A.J. Harris gave an verbal commitment to the Tigers.
“Can’t wait to spend my college years playing here #MIZ,” Harris wrote on Twitter, accompanied by a photo of Memorial Stadium.
Harris, a 6-foot-3, 297-pound tackle, is a four-star recruit according to Rivals.com and is ranked as the No. 14 offensive guard in the class of 2015.
“He’s got a lot of great options, but I think Mizzou has been up there towards the top the whole time,” Blue Valley coach Eric Driskell said.
Harris, who helped power Blue Valley to the Kansas 5A championship last fall, has been described as a mauler for his athletic and dominant blocking style.
“He’s a phenomenal athlete,” Driskell said. “He’s obviously big and powerful, but he moves extremely well. He is amazingly fast and agile, and then he’s really intelligent. He’s a 3.9 (grade-point average) guy, a really bright guy, so he’s the whole package and I think that makes him an elite player.”
Harris — who also had offers from Kansas State, Kansas, Arkansas, Nebraska, Ohio State and Oklahoma State among others — will be reunited with another Blue Valley product, Clay Rhodes, at Missouri. Rhodes, a redshirt freshman, is listed second on the Tigers’ depth chart at left tackle during spring practice.
“He and Clay played together A.J.’s sophomore year,” Driskell said. “They were both our tackles when A.J. was a sophomore, so I think that has some impact obviously with the success they’ve had and the program they have there.”
Driskell continued, “They have a great coaching staff that’s been in place for a long time and the program they have is a good fit for him. They have athletic offensive linemen, and I think he fits that mold.”
Harris, who finished fourth at the Kansas 6A state track and field meet in the shot put and fifth in the discus last spring, becomes the Tigers’ third commitment for 2015, joining Lee’s Summit West running back Ryan Williams and Hutchinson Community College running back Chase Abbington.
Williams rushed for 2,058 yards and 23 touchdowns during his sophomore and junior seasons with the Titans, who won the Missouri Class 5 championship last fall.
Abbington, 6-2 and 209 pounds, originally committed to Missouri out of Fort Zumwalt South High School in suburban St. Louis, but didn’t meet the NCAA’s academic eligibility standards.