Top 2022 RB Arlen Harris Jr. Intrigued With Lance Taylor & Notre Dame

July 15, 2019
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2022 Lutheran (Mo.) running back Arlen Harris Jr.‍ might be entering his sophomore year, but Notre Dame fans should start to become familiar with him. The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder camped in South Bend for Irish Invasion, but he had the attention of the staff before camp. 

“I think it went great,” Harris told Irish Sports Daily. “I felt I got time with the running backs coach as I was able to get a lot of work with him. I saw how he coaches and his language in terms of how he talks to his running backs. I liked the tempo and how dedicated to the players. I think I performed pretty well even though the rainy conditions held us back a little bit.” 

Harris might be young, but he knows a few things about quality running back advice. His father, Arlen Harris, played for the Falcons, Lions and Rams in the NFL and now is the head coach at Lutheran while also running Run It Performance, which focuses on the development of running backs. 

Taylor’s coaching style and words resonated with Harris as he quickly developed a level of comfort.

“He definitely knows what he’s talking about,” explained Harris. “My dad has been my running back coach all my life. Their language is very similar. He preaches ball security, three points of contact and certain gadgets, you could say, to make a defender miss – rip, stiff arm and all that. He cares about route running.

“It was almost scary because that’s what I’m used to from my dad.”

Off the field, Taylor made sure to spend time with Harris. The two went on a tour of Notre Dame’s campus and sat down to chat.

“He was great,” said Harris. “He showed compassion and he cares. If I made a mistake in camp or I did something right, Coach Taylor would get on me or show me how to do it and gave me advice on the good and bad. 

“When they gave us a tour, I was able to see who he was as a person. He’s all about his players. He told us about the pool parties, where he invites his players to his house. Once you join the Notre Dame family, you become part of his family.”

The Notre Dame campus also impressed Harris, who isn’t one to fall for the glitz and glamour of facilities or uniforms.  

“The campus was beautiful,” Harris stated. “Walking around, you saw tradition. I liked the tradition. Notre Dame isn’t a place who is big on flash or the gear and all that. That’s not the main priority. It’s about winning, building great men and being a champion for life.

“The campus was so amazing. It was simple, but it was nice and clean. I really enjoyed it a lot.” 

Harris has been on several visits over the last year as he already holds offers from Ball State, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, LSU, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Purdue and Vanderbilt. 

The early attention caught Harris somewhat off guard, but he’s managed it well for someone heading into his sophomore year of high school. 

“It’s surreal and humbling being this young,” Harris said. “When I went into my freshman year, I didn’t expect colleges to talk to me. Being able to be blessed with the offers humbles me and makes sure I work harder. 

“There are a lot more eyes on me and people looking up to me. I have to make sure I go out and perform and set a great example.” 

As a freshman, Harris did a little bit of everything for Lutheran as he rushed for 1,080 yards while racking up 200 receiving yards and 22 total touchdowns. 

If that didn’t impress you, Harris averaged 9.2 yards per carry, but he’s not satisfied. 

“I make sure I attack and pursue becoming a complete back,” Harris explained. “I feel my vision, being able to get my pad level down and getting inside and outside the holes are some of my strengths. This summer, I have focused on understanding the defense by watching film. I want to see their mindset when they see me lined up or running a certain play. I want to understand their mindset so I can understand the scheme when I go through my presnap reads.” 

When it comes to Notre Dame, an offer from the Fighting Irish would be a significant one for Harris. 

“It would be huge,” stated Harris. “Notre Dame has a lot of what I want. I would fit great in that offense, it’s close to home and it’s a school I like. It wouldn’t just be another offer to me. It’d be a big one and one I’d definitely look into.” 

Harris’ teammate, 2021 Notre Dame defensive line commit Gabriel Rubio, has already started recruiting him and the thought of playing with Rubio is intriguing. 

“He hasn’t been too hard on me,” laughed Harris. “I’m proud of him and happy for him. It’s a great place for him. He’s been telling me the coaches favor me and have in interest in me. He thinks Notre Dame would be a great fit for me. 

“If we both went up there, it would be a game-changer.” 

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