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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Mickens, Freeman Make Major First Impression On 2023 CB AJ Harris

March 6, 2021
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AJ Harris‍ was in his third period of class at Glenwood School in Phenix City, Ala., last week, when his coach delivered a message.

Somebody from Notre Dame wanted to speak with the 2023 cornerback and he needed to get in touch with them as soon as he could.

“I ended up calling them with my coach and we had a great conversation,” recalls Harris, who phoned Irish defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman and cornerbacks coach Mike Mickens.

“I love what they told me. It's a very prestigious school and I'm very interested.”

Harris was already familiar with the Irish program.

“My dad has been a long-time Notre Dame fan, since I can remember,” he says. “So, I actually grew up watching them for a long time. I grew up supporting them all the way. I already had a good knowledge of Notre Dame.

“I've always really wanted to attend Notre Dame, so it's kind of a blessing to get the offer.”

Freeman and Mickens made strong impressions on the 6-foot-2, 185-pound sophomore.

“I loved Coach Freeman's energy off the bat,” Harris says. “He came with a lot of energy when we got on the phone.

“And Coach Mickens, I liked what he told me. He was like, ‘I believe if you go to Notre Dame and you have your head on straight, you get the academics done and you play football at a high level at Notre Dame, you can definitely get drafted.’

“It's a great, great school.”

Harris is looking forward to building relationships with the Irish assistants.

“I plan to be committed, hopefully after my junior season if I get to go on my visits when the dead period is lifted,” he says. “I want to go into my senior season without any distractions, focused on one college and be able to have all my focus on winning the state championship my senior year and getting ready to go and play college ball.”

Harris plans on taking at least one of those visits to South Bend.

“Me and my dad were already talking about it,” he says. “We will definitely be making my ways around from all the schools that have offered me, but Notre Dame is definitely at the top of list.

“My dad's originally from Gary, Ind., so we can go down there and visit some old family and also get a chance to look at Notre Dame.”

Harris’ offer sheet also includes schools like Georgia, Auburn, Oklahoma, Michigan and Penn State among many others. But the Irish certainly have his attention.

“Notre Dame is definitely at the top of the list, Georgia is at the top of the list, Auburn,” he says. “I can't lie a majority, almost all my offers have showed me a lot of love and I've definitely built relationships with everybody that I've received an offer from.

“So, I won't really say anybody is at the top of the list right now, but I definitely am interested in Notre Dame heavily.”

When it comes to choosing a school, education will be a primary factor for Harris, who is looking at majoring in Business or possibly becoming a physical therapist.

“Academics is first, making sure they have my major and most definitely somewhere where I can go to the NFL,” he says. “But just knowing that if that's not in my cards and that's not God-willing, that I have a great education to fall back on, which is big for me and my family, which is why Notre Dame is such a great school.

“I know that they offer amazing academics. And I know their diploma would mean so much.”

 
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