Redshirt freshman defensive back Marcell Harris is the first of two current Gators to be legacies from players in the mid-90s. Kelvin Taylor is the other. Marcell’s father, Mike Harris, was at Florida the same time as Fred Taylor, Kelvin’s dad. Now, Marcell and Kelvin will look to have the same success, if not better, than their father’s had.
Harris spent most of his high school career at Southlake in Groveland, FL, but didn’t really get noticed until his senior season, which he played at Dr. Phillips in Orlando. Before transferring to Dr. Phillips, Harris was one of a select group of the nation’s top recruits to play in Nike’s The Opening between his junior and senior seasons. He also competed so well at the Under Armour National Combine that he was invited to play in the 2013 Under Armour All-American Game before his junior year of high school was completed. He was the second player to be invited to the all-star game. Harris was able to play in eight games for the Panthers before he strained his MCL on a kickoff return. Before the injury, he notched 52 tackles and eight passes defended.
Highly recruited out of high school, Harris has great size, tackling, and instincts to be the next great Florida safety. He also shows the hard hitting ability his father had. 247Sports composite ratings pegged Harris as a four-star prospect, ranked as the seventh-best safety, 15th-ranked player in Florida, and 78th overall of the 2013 recruiting cycle. He had a long list of top-notch suitors, including Texas, Florida State, Oklahoma, Auburn, Miami, South Carolina, N.C. State, Notre Dame and LSU, but chose to follow his father’s footsteps and attend Florida.
“It’s just a sense of pride and excitement … I’m just extremely, extremely excited for him to be a Gator,” Mike Harris said. “After all the interviews and whatnot, he’s the one who’s going to have to go up there and work and do all of the sweating and all the hits and all the workouts, so you just have to feel where you are most comfortable .. so I think Gainesville is a very good choice for him.” – Former Florida DB Mike Harris to the Orlando Sentinel
After his arthroscopic surgery to clean out his knee, Harris felt stiffness and a lack of mobility in the leg. It turns out he had to have surgery once again on the MCL and decided to take a redshirt his freshman season to recover fully from the injury and learn the nuances of Florida’s playbook and become acclimated to the speed of the SEC. Now, Harris is ready to make a huge impact on the field. With the departures of Jaylen Watkins and Cody Riggs, the safety position is short on help. Marcus Maye, Jabari Gorman, Keanu Neal, Brian Poole and Harris will all rotate in DB coach Travaris Robinson‘s rotation and see plenty of playing time.
With four years of eligibility left, Marcell Harris has plenty of time to have an even better career than his father. Mike had 174 tackles and two interceptions in a whopping 42 games as a reserve safety. But it’s the team accomplishments Harris and Taylor are looking to have as well. Their father’s had an incredible run, winning three SEC Championships and capping it all off by bringing home the Gators first national championship. Now Harris has high hopes of bringing Florida back to their glory days. And with 26 days until kickoff and fall practice starting today, look for that trend to begin this year.