NORMAN — When Oklahoma offered Javon Harris a scholarship last April, he was hardly what Sooner defensive coordinator Brent Venables terms a “Johnny Five Star.”
The Lawton MacArthur safety was unranked by most recruiting fan sites. And he didn’t make The Oklahoman’s initial Super 30 ranking of the state’s top recruits.
But in the end, of all of OU’s incoming freshmen, Harris could be the first to work his way onto the playing field.
“I don’t think Javon is a guy they say, ‘He’s got to develop,’” said Lawton Mac coach Ernie Manning. “He has as good a chance as anyone to get playing time early in his career.
“He is developed, smart and he’ll go in and compete immediately for a job. That’s just me knowing his self-motivation. I’d put him up against anybody.”
After quietly having standout seasons as a sophomore and junior, the 5-foot-11, 195-pound Harris exploded as a senior in 2008. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards and 20 touchdowns as a tailback. Harris added 83 tackles, six sacks and two interceptions as a safety to earn Oklahoman first-team all-state honors.
“He’s one of the best defensive players ever to come out of Lawton Mac,” said Manning, who coached ex-Highlanders defensive standout Jammal Brown, who would go on to stardom as an offensive tackle with OU and the New Orleans Saints.