Two Florida signees who have a chance to contribute in 2013 are getting a month and a half head start.
Orlando Dr. Phillips safety Marcell Harris and Milledgeville Georgia Military College offensive tackle Trenton Brown reported to UF over the weekend and begin classes this week for the Summer A semester. Both players were scheduled to be early enrollees in January, but they weren’t able to finish their credits before the spring registration deadline.
Harris was an Under Armour All-American and a member of the Rivals100 and ESPN150. He’s the son of former Florida safety and Buchholz alum Mike ‘Mud’ Harris, who played for the Gators from 1994-1997.
“His abilities are a little bit better than mine were,” the elder Harris said. “Marcell has the potential to be as good as any other safety that’s come through the University of Florida.”
UF coach Will Muschamp has spoke highly of Harris during his speaking tour this month and expects him to compete for a starting job in fall camp.
“Marcell has been preparing himself to play as much as possible,” his father said. “I’m very proud of him. It’s just exciting that he’ll be playing where I used to play at. The biggest joy a parent can have is to see their kid go down a similar path. The good thing about it is I can tell him what to expect in college. I think it’s going to be fun, especially for him.”
Brown was the No. 1 JUCO offensive tackle in the nation according to Rivals.com and ranked 34th overall in the ESPN Junior College 100. He’s also aiming to crack the starting lineup in 2013.
“By the end of the year, I have a goal set to be a starter,” Brown said. “I really just want to have a good first season. It’s a blessing for me to finally be here. I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy. It’s time to grind.”
Brown couldn’t qualify academically for any Division-I program out of high school and had trouble staying in shape during his junior college career. The 6-foot-8 lineman said he still has naysayers who question his academic and athletic abilities. Their doubts continue to drive him.
“There’s a lot of people back home,” Brown said, “that didn’t think I would make it this far and they feel like I can’t cut it at a place like Florida. That’s going to keep me level headed and in the right state of mind. I was 383 pounds two months ago and I’m down in the 350-range now. So I’ve been working hard and I’m ready to prove people wrong.”
Walk-on quarterback Chris Wilkes, who pitched five years of minor league baseball before deciding to pursue a football career in March, also enrolls this week. The rest of the 2013 signees will report in late June.