Roger Harriott is leaving high school football for the college ranks once again, and he's taking one of his star players with him.
Harriott, who led Davie University School to a state title in 2012, stepped down from the head coaching position on Friday to become an assistant head coach and running backs coach at Florida Atlantic, joining first-year coach Charlie Partridge.
As one of the most articulate and player-friendly coaches in South Florida, Harriott already made his presence felt on his first day landing the best recruit in the school’s history as University School junior running back Jordan Scarlett committed to FAU just hours after the news became official.
“I called Coach Harriott and we talked about today, and it would be a benefit for me to go there as far as staying [close to] home," said Scarlett, an underrated four-star prospect by 247Sports. "I just felt it would be a good move for me to stay with my running back coach, and keep the same routine I’ve been going through.”
Scarlett – who had a strong interest to stay in Florida and had offers from more than 20 schools including Florida State, Miami, Florida, Alabama and Auburn – said his closeness to Harriott as a father figure and family friend were also obvious reasons he pulled the trigger so quickly. Whether he signs a National Letter of Intent to play for the Owls in 2015 remains to be seen.
Harriott, a former Boston University and Villanova running back who tallied more than 2,000 yards in his college career, briefly resigned as U-School coach in January 2010 to become the running backs coach at Syracuse but decided to return home with his wife and four children in mind.
Now Harriott can have his cake and can eat it, too, trying to help FAU make a statement heading into its second season in Conference USA.
FAU officially announced Harriott's hire Friday afternoon. Patridge will also retain associate head coach and offensive coordinator Brian Wright on his staff.
"I am thrilled to bring Roger on board with the Owls," Partridge said in a statement released by the school. "He has been an extremely successful football coach and leader of student-athletes. He will bring leadership principles that will impact our program and his Florida roots demonstrates our commitment to the area."
With the news, several of University School’s top players in the Class of 2015 are in the process of transferring elsewhere.
Scarlett said he's thinking of attending Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas or Plantation American Heritage if he doesn’t stay at University School.
Defensive tackle Brandon Boyce, who committed to Duke on Friday afternoon, confirmed via his Twitter account he’s headed to St. Thomas Aquinas.
•South Miami 59, Gimanzija Bezigrad (Slovenia) 50:
Senior forward and Winthrop recruit Joseph Lopez scored eight of his game-high 15 points in the third quarter to lead the Cobras (11-1) in a quarterfinal game at the Orange Bowl Classic.
Senior guard Marquise Clark added 14 points, making 5 of 6 free throws in the final minute to seal the win.
South Miami never trailed, although Gimanzija tied the score twice in the first period. Latravion Glover, a 6-7 Cobras freshman, had the highest first-half total of any player with eight points as South Miami went into the break with 32-27 lead.
In the second half, Gimanzija never got closer than two points.
With four minutes left in the game and South Miami clinging to a 49-45 lead, Lopez came up with a block to wipe away a potential layup, and Gimanzija missed two free throws in what was the Slovenian side’s last best chance.
Lopez, who scored most of his points on put-backs and layups, said his team’s 1-3-1 zone made the difference. He also said he changed his mentality after his four-point first half.
"I was nervous at the beginning," he said. "In the second half, I got myself to calm down, and I realized I could help the team by rebounding."
MORE BOYS’ BASKETBALL
Boyd Anderson guard Dondre Duffus couldn’t have scripted a better finish against his former team, Wellington, on Friday.
Duffus keyed a fourth-quarter comeback and found Diandre Wilson (10 points) for the game-winning three-pointer with three seconds left as Boyd Anderson stunned the Wolverines 53-50 in the D-Hop Classic semifinals at Palm Beach Lakes.
“This was a very emotional game,” Duffus said. “I wanted to get the win bad. I couldn’t have lost to my old school after spending three years there. I will remember this one forever.”
Duffus sparked the Cobras (8-2) with 13 points, including seven straight in the pivotal fourth quarter and a game-high seven assists and seven steals.
Boyd Anderson advances to face the Blanche Ely-Palm Beach Lakes winner in the D-Hop championship game Saturday at 7:30.
Perhaps no steal loomed larger than Duffus picking the pocket of Aaron Kwiatek with 49 seconds left and finding Wilson cutting to the basket for a layup that pushed Boyd Anderson ahead 50-48.
Rodney Simeon (15 points) also played a big role in Duffus’ homecoming by knocking in a three-pointer to give the Cobras a 44-43 lead with 2:56 left.
•Westwood Christian 87, Southridge 82: WC (9-4):
Desinor 15, E.Joseph 28, J.Joseph 17, Jou 6, Desir 7, Hernandez 13, A.Joseph 5. Three-pointers: Hernandez 2, Desinor 1. Rebounds: Jou 10, J. Joseph 10. Blocks: Jou 6. Assists: Desinor 5. Steals: Joseph 5.
•Miami Country Day 50, Florida A&M 40: MCD (11-1):
Mackenzie 5, Anyagaligbo 8, Lewis 17, Minott 15, Alvarez 3, Edwards 2.FAM:
Salters 17, McNealy 3, Jones 10, Garner 3, Leon 6, Scott 1. Rebounds: Anyagaligbo 10. Assists: Mackenzie 3, Lewis 3.
•Dunbar 68, Sagemont 52 (Queen of Palms Tournament): SAG (8-4):
Provenzano 3, Black 25, Rucker 2, Marshall 9, Correa 12, Cole 1.DUN:
Jewect 17, Johnson 4, Edison 1, Defamours 12, Morrison 4, Patterson 15, Leapart 10, Cooper 5. Rebounds: Correa 6. Assists: Rucker 5. Steals: Rucker 5.
•Bulldog Holiday Classic:
Coral Reef 31, Braddock 25. Varela 56, SLAM 44. Miami Beach 34, Coral Reef 32. Southwest 48, SLAM 33. Varela 67, Southwest 46. Miami Beach 72, Braddock 42.