When Treon Harris got a chance to visit Florida State last summer, one of the things that blew him away about Jimbo Fisher was how the 47-year-old coach didn’t mind having him and a bunch of other sweaty teenagers use his football office as a hangout to play video games and chew gum.
“We were playing [ NCAA Football 2013], making a lot of noise and he didn’t say nothing. In fact, he loved it,” said Harris, a Class of 2014 football standout at Miami Booker T. Washington High and the youngest brother to former University of Miami standouts Tim Harris Jr. (track) and Brandon Harris (football).
“He was just a very cool guy.”
What Treon really likes most about Fisher is what he says Fisher promised him — the opportunity to continue to play quarterback at the next level.
That’s why the 5-11, 187-pound high school senior called FSU’s coaches Monday and told them he was accepting their scholarship offer over Arizona and Boston College, his other finalists among a handful of programs offering him a chance to play quarterback first and not switch him to slot receiver or cornerback.
“The point of him going there is to compete with some big-time guys that are there, push himself and be in a position to show he can lead a team of that caliber once he’s ready,” said Tim “Ice” Harris Sr., Treon’s father and a two-time state championship winning coach at Booker T., who served as a special assistant at UM under Randy Shannon.
“One thing I felt good about was that once Coach Fisher saw him in camp and saw he could spin it, the size didn’t matter. Everything is on Treon now to go in and compete at his position and do the things he needs to do to show he can get better at his position.”
Treon, rated a consensus four-star recruit as an athlete by Rivals.com, ESPN and 247Sports.com, received a scholarship offer from UM. But it was to play slot receiver or defensive back, not quarterback. Had the Hurricanes promised the same opportunity as the Seminoles, he said, “it probably would have come down to FSU or UM for me. I liked both of them growing up.”
Harris, 24-3 as a starting quarterback since his sophomore season, has put up some eye-opening numbers as a dual-threat weapon in the high-octane spread offense at Booker T. In his two varsity seasons, he has combined to complete 61.4 percent of his passes for 4,364 yards, 47 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He also has run for 1,691 yards and 35 touchdowns while leading the Tornadoes to back-to-back appearances in Class 4A state finals.
Although he knows the odds are stacked against him, Harris believes he can play quarterback at the next level and maybe beyond.
“For a coach, putting a comparison on a kid to a pro is kind of weird, but if I had to pick one right now an obvious one would be Russell Wilson,” said Harris’ older brother Tim Jr., his offensive coordinator and position coach at Booker T.
“You look at his talents, athletic ability and height, it’s all favorable in terms of Treon’s measurables. But we tell Treon all the time you don’t know the type of work a guy like Russell Wilson had to put in to get to the level he’s at being a so-called undersized guy. So you push a little harder in conditioning, be a great leader, be first in everything you do. That’s how you beat those odds of people saying you’re too small or can’t do this or that.”
According to profootballreference.com, only eight quarterbacks under 6-0 have thrown a pass in the NFL since 1970. None of the 55 Class of 2014 quarterbacks listed by Rivals.com among the nation’s best (dual threat or pro-style) is shorter than 6-0.
Florida State redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston, expected to replace former first-round NFL Draft pick EJ Manuel as the team’s starter, was the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the country in 2012, according to Rivals.com. The Seminoles also have a 2014 commitment lined up from four-star passer JJ Cosentino (6-4, 215) from Pittsburgh Central Catholic, the same school that produced Dan Marino and Marc Bulger.
“If they say I can do it at quarterback, I’m going to wait my turn,” Treon said. “If they say I can’t do it, I’m open to playing any position because I know I can do that too.”
As for his older brothers — die-hard Hurricanes — there is no animosity about Treon choosing FSU.
“They congratulated me,” Treon said. “Where we’re from, it’s hard to do things like this. I’m just going on to the next level to do better things for myself like they did. That’s what’s most important.”
“I had an opportunity to talk to the coaches at Miami last night [when Treon committed],” Harris Sr. said. “If Miami was a school that was recruiting Treon as a QB the world may not know what happened. But under the circumstances that’s not the case.
“We still got guys in the recruiting process with Miami as well. We’re still going to have Canes here at Booker T. Washington. The biggest thing is what fits the kid best.”