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NFL draft Q & A: Meet Miami CB Brandon Harris


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http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-falcons-blog/2011/04/06/nfl-draft-q-a-meet-miami-cb-brandon-harris/

BIRDLAND – The Falcons’ scouting and coaching entourage traveled to Miami last Wednesday to check out a few of the Hurricanes.

They put cornerback Brandon Harris, defensive end Allen Bailey and cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke through individual workouts and then broke off into lengthy interview sessions.

Harris called The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from his limo while on the way to Los Angeles International Airport

(LAX) Tuesday evening to give us an update.

Harris, a native of Miami, was highly impressed the Falcons. Coming out of Miami’s Booker T. Washington High, he was selected to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Super Southern 100 team and was rated as the third best corner in the nation by ESPN. Check out his bio.

Here’s a Q & A with the cornerback, who could be the team’s selection in the first round of the NFL draft, which will be held April 28-30.

Q: How is the draft process going for you?

A: The process is going great. I just had a team visit with San Diego. I went to San Diego on Monday. I stayed in San Diego for two days to meet the coaches and the rest of the staff.

Q: What are you doing out in L.A.?

A: I flew up to L.A. so I could go by the NFL Network and meet the guys. I did a couple of interviews.

Q: Have you talked to the Falcons yet?

A: Yeah, they came down for my Pro Day and they also came down last week to do an individual workout for me and for a couple of players on my defense. They brought down the entire staff. It was a good experience.

It shows that they are very interested based on the number of people that they brought down. That was good. We put on a great workout and they seemed to enjoy it.

I spent 45 minutes to an hour afterwards just talking to them about me and they wanted to let me know about the things they are looking for in their players. I pretty much spent the whole day with them on March 30th.

Q: How do you feel about some folks projecting you to go in the first round now?

A: I feel strongly about it. I’m definitely worthy of a first round pick. I’m just an all-around complete package. I’m not just a football player. I’m somebody who is going to bring a lot to the team off the field as well.

I keep hearing that a lot of coaches are looking at more and more tape. I’m hoping that they see that I can get the job done. It’s just a tribute to my hard work and dedication to the game that they’ve got me moving up the charts. That’s just more motivation for me to go out there and keep working.

Q: What led to your decision to come out after your junior year?

A: I looked at my school work to see where I was academically and how close I was to graduation. I’m only a semester away from graduating.

My mom pointed out that the degree is important. She saw that I was so close and said it was okay to come out.

I promised that I’d come back to graduate. It’s been a life long dream to play in the National Football League.

Q: So you had to promise your Mom that you’d get your degree?

A: Yes, I had to sign a contract with my mother. I actually have to come back and get it within a year after my rookie season. I only have a couple of classes. I will go back and finish.

Q: What’s your major?

A: I’m a Business major.

Q: What do you think you can add to a pro team?

A: I bring a lot of knowledge about the game. At Miami, I played corner and nickel back. Not a lot of guys can do both.

I also played some safety. I’m going to try to do whatever the team needs. I figure if they are drafting me, they are drafting three guys because I can play multiple positions.

Q: Are the Falcons evaluating you as a safety or corner?

A: They are looking at me as a corner. They told me some positive things. They were very supportive.

Q: Who was your favorite team growing up?

A: I was one of those people who changed teams a lot. I never had a steady team.

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His player BIO

2010 JIM THORPE AWARD SEMIFINALIST

2010 ALL-ACC SECOND TEAM

2010 NAGURSKI WATCH LIST2010 SPORTING NEWS PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA

2009 JIM THORPE AWARD SEMIFINALIST

2009 ALL-ACC FIRST TEAM2009 SECOND TEAM SI.COM ALL-AMERICA

2009 THIRD TEAM ASSOCIATED PRESS ALL-AMERICA

2009 FOURTH TEAM PHIL STEELE ALL-AMERICA

2008 ALL-ACC ACADEMIC FOOTBALL TEAM

2008 ALL-ACC ACADEMIC FOOTBALL TEAM

CAREER: Named a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award (nation's top defensive back) twice in his career (2009; 2010) ... Played in 39 games and started 32 in his three seasons at Miami, recording 132 tackles, nine tackles for loss, four interceptions, five forced fumbles, two sacks and 28 pass break-ups in his career ... Recorded a career-best nine tackles in a win at rival Florida State in the 2009 season-opener ... Tallied a career-high six solo tackles twice (at Wake Forest in 2009; at Ohio State in 2010) ... Used as a kick-returner early in his career, returning 13 kicks as a freshman and two as a sophomore for a career average of 24.5 yards per return ... Ranked among the nation's elite and led the ACC in passes defended as a sophomore ... Recorded 30 tackles as a freshman, 58 as a sophomore and 44 as a junior.

2010 (JUNIOR): Started all 13 games at cornerback ... Named All-ACC second team ... Named Jim Thorpe Award Semifinalist for the second straight season ... Recorded 44 tackles and a team-high 10 pass break-ups ... Intercepted one pass (vs. North Carolina) ... Forced a fumble against Notre Dame in the Sun Bowl ... Recorded a season-high seven tackles (6 UA, 1 A) in road loss at No. 2 Ohio State ... Averaged 4.5 tackles per game through Miami's first six contests (2.4 pg over final seven games) ... Anchored a secondary that ranked second nationally in both pass defense and pass efficiency defense during the regular season.

2009 (SOPHOMORE): Led the ACC and ranked second nationally in averaging 1.31 passes defended per contest ... Tied for second nationally with 15 pass break-ups and third in passes defended (17) ... Named All-ACC First Team by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association, ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Phil Steele ... Named one of 12 national semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award ... Ranks third on UM's defense with 52 total tackles ... One of two `Cane defenders (along with Randy Phillips) with two interceptions on the year ... Has 6.0 tackles for a loss this season, including a sack and a forced fumble in win over Oklahoma ... One of three `Canes with two forced fumbles ... Selected ACC Defensive Back of the Week after tallying a game- and career-high nine tackles (three solo) in addition to breaking up two passes - including one in the end zone with nine seconds remaining - in win at Florida State ... Had a career-high five pass break-ups and an interception against Florida A&M ... Recorded his second interception of the season in the regular season finale at USF ... Averaged 6.0 tackles and a pass break-up in three road trips in the state of Florida.

2008 (FRESHMAN): Started six of 13 games at left cornerback for the Hurricanes ... Made first collegiate start against Florida State and started against Duke, UCF, Virginia, NC State and California ... Totaled 30 tackles (22 solo, eight assisted) with two tackles for loss, one sack, one interception and three pass breakups ... Registered a career-high four tackles at Virginia and at NC State ... Made first collegiate interception in season finale at NC State and returned it 25 yards ... Also served as a kick returner and had 13 returns for 274 yards with a career-long 41-yard return coming at Texas A&M ... Also participated on the UM track team running the 400m and participating on the 4x400 meter relay team during the outdoor season and running the 60m and participating on the 4x400 meter relay team during the indoor season.

HIGH SCHOOL: Helped lead his team to the No. 6 national ranking by USA Today ... As a senior in 2007, caught 26 passes for 501 yards and eight touchdowns, with 1,069 all-purpose yards ... On defense, he made 49 tackles, five sacks and four interceptions (two returned for scores) ... Also played quarterback in some key situations and completed eight of 17 passes for 230 yards with a touchdown ... As a junior in 2006, completed 10 of 10 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns and caught 38 passes for 576 yards and 10 TDs ... On defense, made 41 tackles, four sacks and five interceptions (two returned for touchdowns) ... Played in the inaugural Under Armour All-Star game ... Coached by his father, USA Today National Coach of the Year Tim Harris ... Brother of former UM three-time track All-American Tim Harris ... Named Florida Class 6A-4A Male Athlete of the Year, Dade County's 6A-4A Defensive Player of the Year and Florida's Gatorade Player of the Year ... PrepStar and EA Sports All-American ... Ranked the No. 6 player in Florida and No. 38 overall by Rivals.com ... Rated the No. 7 player in Florida and No. 43 in the country by Scout.com ... Ranked the third-best cornerback and the No. 28 player in the nation by ESPN ... Selected to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super Southern 100 team.

BRANDON HARRIS' CAREER HIGHS

Total tackles: 9, (at Florida State 2009)

Solo: 6, twice (at Wake Forest 2009, at Ohio State 2010)

Assists: 6, (at Florida State 2009)

Interceptions: 1, four times (last vs. North Carolina 2010)

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I'm not impressed with any CB after Peterson or Akumura. I know we need help at nickel, I just don't see it in this draft.

Funny thing is Harris and Aaron Williams may turn out to be better than both guys you just named. I refuse to jump on the Peterson/Akumura bandwagon, mainly because I didn't watch them play.

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I spent 45 minutes to an hour afterwards (the Miami pro-day, which was March 10th) just talking to them about me and they wanted to let me know about the things they are looking for in their players. I pretty much spent the whole day with them on March 30th.

We spent an hour at the Miami pro-day (a long time when you consider how many teams attended and probably wanted to work this kid out, and how many Miami prospects we needed to look at in one day).

We then brought him in and spent an entire day with him.

This is the kind of interest we showed in Spoon last year, and we know how that worked out.

We're either incredibly interested in this kid, or we're throwing up the biggest smoke screen in the history of the draft.

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I think this is for if FA happens and we get DE then. I would be fine with Harris in the first as long as Grimes is back and we got a DE in FA. We do face Brees and that passing attack twice so you can never have enough.

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I think this is for if FA happens and we get DE then. I would be fine with Harris in the first as long as Grimes is back and we got a DE in FA. We do face Brees and that passing attack twice so you can never have enough.

I think it is much more likely we get a CB in free agency than a DE.

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I think it is much more likely we get a CB in free agency than a DE.

I doubt it. Not having gone CB last year and having to resign Grimes this year. Doesn't make sense. Get a cheap CB that can take over once DRob's contract runs out.

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