Two years ago, Crenshaw (Calif.) High School flashed a dynamic offense led by running back De'Anthony Thomas and offensive lineman Marcus Martin, who led the Cougars to a CIF title and made instant impacts at the college level. The duo that hopes to help lead the way for Crenshaw this year hasn't experienced the same recruiting success, but they'll likely be just as valuable to Crenshaw's success.
Quarterback and junior-to-be Ajene Harris isn't a name known through recruiting circles, but after a transfer from Animo South Los Angeles Charter High School this spring, the 5-foot-9, 168-pound Harris took over the starting spot. A fantastic athlete, Harris did a bit of everything as a sophomore at Animo. He threw for 874 yards and six touchdowns, rushed for 640 yards and four scores, caught a pass for 35 yards, made 44 tackles, intercepted four passes and returned three kickoffs.
"I'm an athlete, but my main position is quarterback," Harris said. "I would like to stay there."
A step up in competition and the responsibility of taking over behind center at Crenshaw will likely limit Harris to just that one position, but he is looking forward to the challenge.
"I've always wanted to go to Crenshaw since I was little," Harris said, and listed some of the schools they will be lining up against this season.
Harris didn't know then that he'd have wide receiver Mossi Johnson as a target, but he's certainly glad he does. Like Harris, the 6-foot, 170-pound senior receiver did it all last year as he threw for 153 yards and a touchdown, rushed for 493 yards and six scores, caught 15 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown, collected 40 tackles and returned 20 punts and kickoffs. He could be a focal point this fall, both for opposing defenses and college coaches.
Programs made sure to visit the Crenshaw campus this spring and Johnson said several schools have contacted him about attending summer camps or workouts. He said he hasn't been able to set anything up yet, but hopes to in the coming months. San Diego State, Arizona State and Washington State are three schools in particular that have expressed interest. Though he holds no offers at this point, Johnson said he is only looking to earn an opportunity.
"I don't have a dream school or anything like that," Johnson said. "I just want to play college ball."
Crenshaw is hoping to improve on a 6-5 record last year and will likely look to do so with big assists from Harris and Johnson.