He's not a freshman, but Desmond Harrison is as important a signee as any in Texas' 2013 recruiting class. And ever since signing in February, Harrison has been hard at work to ensure he’ll actually make it to Austin.
The 6-foot-8, 315-pound offensive tackle from Conta Costa (Calif.) College has been juggling a full class load and extra workouts to prepare himself for the next level.
Harrison is still taking classes at the junior college this summer, and coach Alonzo Carter said he believes the coveted lineman will arrive in Austin by mid-July. From there, Harrison will jump right into the competition to start at left tackle this fall.
We caught up with Harrison for the latest on his academic progress and his expectations for when he does finally join the Longhorns.
HornsNation: What’s your status these days? What are you working on right now to get to Texas?
Desmond Harrison: Right now I’m just taking a couple classes and then I’ll try to get there before camp starts. I’ve just got to make sure I’m good academically first and finish all the way up, and then I’ll try to get in there before camp. I’m aiming to come as soon as possible. I’m finishing up math and English.
HN: How excited are you to get those classes behind you and get to Austin?
Harrison: I’m real excited for the transition. I’m ready to come in and play ball and just go out there, have fun and get to the next level.
HN: What have the UT coaches said they expect from you?
Harrison: They’re ready for me to come out there ready to learn, get my playbook and just get in condition.
HN: Do you consider the left tackle spot yours for the taking?
Harrison: Oh, yes sir. I’m coming in to play. I want to play left tackle. That’s it.
HN: What do you like about offensive line coach Stacy Searels?
Harrison: Coach Searels is a good teacher, and it ain’t just about football with Coach Searels. It’s the off-the-field things too. He’s a good dude.
HN: When you look back, what made you confident Texas was the right place for you?
Harrison: Just me being there back playing in my home state and playing for Mack Brown and his coaching staff. I felt like I had a family with them. I like the offense, too. We ran a similar scheme at my juco with the way UT pulls its tackles, and I felt like that would be a good place to showcase my talent.
HN: How exciting is it for your family that you’re coming back to Texas?
Harrison: They’re real excited. They can’t wait for me to get down there so they can see me play. My first game at Texas is going to be real good, I’m already excited about it.
HN: Are there guys on the Texas roster you already know from your Houston ties?
Harrison: I keep up with the guys. I keep up with Kennedy Estelle and Sheroid Evans, they’re from my city, too. I keep in contact with Rami Hammad, an offensive lineman coming in, and Donald Hawkins. I keep in contact with a couple of guys.
HN: You’re a former basketball player. How surprising is it that you’ll end up playing offensive line at Texas? Did you think your future would be in hoops?
Harrison: Yeah, I thought I was going to be a hooper all the way until senior year. I got back on my football thing once I left my school, Oak Ridge Military Academy [in North Carolina]. I knew I was going to get back on my football grind.
HN: Was going the junior college route more about your grades or that you hadn’t gotten noticed yet?
Harrison: I didn’t have my grades. I had committed to Auburn my senior year. But no, my grades weren’t good so I had to go juco.
HN: Were things pretty easy for you last season at the juco level as a 6-8 tackle? Do you think you’re in for a big transition into the Big 12?
Harrison: Yeah, it was pretty much easy. That’s how juco pretty much was. I’m ready to get my game to the next level. I’m not nervous at all because I’ve played against top defensive ends like Morgan Breslin at USC. I played some big-time D-ends. I’m not nervous because they won’t know about me either.
HN: What excites you most about your first game and first season?
Harrison: When I watched the practices, I could already see myself playing there. Knowing it’s coming closer, that just gets me crunk.
HN: Do you like that the Texas line brings back so many veterans, even if that’ll make winning your starting job more difficult?
Harrison: Yeah, I do. I like that they have guys who can move around. Like with Donald Hawkins, he could bump down to guard and help teach me the tackle spot, since he’s played there. I think we’ll be good all around, on both the left and right sides of the line. We have a lot of experience now.
HN: What are your expectations for this first season as a Longhorn?
Harrison: I want to be dominant from day one. I’m just that type of player. I’ve got the strength. I don’t want to sit back and wait. I don’t have time to sit back and wait.