There aren’t many high school cornerbacks carrying 235 pounds like University High’s Christian Harris. Or wide receivers. Or kickoff and punt return specialists.
He’s starting to show a weighty personality, too.
“One time we were having a rough practice, we were all down, and he just got up and started dancing randomly,” teammate Doryan Harris (no relation) said. “Everybody started laughing.
“He’s always making funny noises or jokes. It comes out of nowhere.”
Harris, who is 6-foot-2, appears to do it all and more for the District 6-3A Cubs (6-0), ranked No. 1 in Class 3A and No. 18 in the MaxPreps national poll. He isn’t the dominant player on a team loaded with outstanding skill players but can usually handle whatever's asked of him, whether on the field or in the classroom.
A four-star prospect and Texas A&M commitment, the Aggies asked him what he wanted to play and he decided on a position that fits his body type — linebacker.
“They asked me what I wanted to play because I play so many positions,” he said. “I feel like I’m more of a defensive player. I love getting the ball in my hands, but I feel I would be more valuable on defense.”
That’s where his brother Tylor, seven years older, ended up for two seasons with the Seattle Seahawks after starring at Episcopal and Wake Forest. Christian wore Tyler’s No. 36 until this season when he switched to No. 2.
“I wanted to be like him, and wore 36 since middle school,” Harris said. “This year I wanted to change it up and do my own thing.”
Harris is making a strong case for offense with 12 catches for 243 yards and two touchdowns. He has returned two punts for touchdowns and took the opening kickoff back 100 yards for a score in a 41-21 victory against Catholic, ranked No. 4 in Class 5A.
Injuries have forced U-High coach Chad Mahaffey to shuffle playing time throughout the season and that has gotten Harris more playing time on offense. In his early high school days, he played mostly on offense but is now one of the defensive bulwarks, rotating to safety at times.
“He’s got a unique build,” Mahaffey said. “People assume he’s a linebacker or (defensive) end. But he’s been a skill kid his whole life. His weight comes from being thick-bodied. It’s not like he’s overweight or bulky. He’s well put together.
“(Linebacker) is where he sees himself. He’s got the ability to do that. He could do a great job as an offensive player as well.”
Harris has flown under the radar statistically because of teammates like running back Mike Hollins (889 yards rushing 19 TDs), wide receiver Makiya Tongue (Georgia commitment) and cornerback Jordan Clark. He also hasn’t been in top form because of a hamstring injury during the summer that idled him and cut into his conditioning work. Otherwise, he might be playing every snap.
“My hamstring was fine when the season started, but being out all summer you miss out on conditioning and have to catch up during the season,” said Harris, who had his best game against Zachary with seven catches for 85 yards.
“We stick with the running game. When you get the ball to Mike, he’s hard to stop. Let him work. We’re winning games, that’s all I really care about.”