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December 8, 2013

Family feel

Back in July, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas cornerback Al Harris Jr. made a verbal commitment to South Carolina before setting foot on campus.

That changed last weekend when the three-star defender made an official visit to Columbia to get a closer look at the program he will play for in the future.

"It went very well," Harris told GamecockCentral.com. "I got to see the academic centers and talk to some academic advisors. I got to learn more about the on-campus ministries and see that great game (win over Clemson). I had a very good time on my visit."

Harris was hosted on the trip by a young defensive back from the Sunshine State and had a chance to pick the brains of some of the current players as well.

"Jasper Sasser was my host. It was great. I got a chance to ask them a few questions with them already being there and doing the things I'm going to be doing."

The USC staff and current players gave the NFL legacy a high comfort level during his interactions with them over the weekend.

"They were welcoming. It feels like a big family," he explained. "The coaching staff is laid back, but they all work hard and push their players to be the best they can be. I will definitely be in a position where I can compete for early playing time. I'll have to work very hard and stay focused to make that happen."

The Florida product took in USC's 31-17 rivalry win over Clemson and offered his thoughts on his future team's tenth win of the season.

"The atmosphere was amazing. It was very exciting being that it was one of the biggest games at Carolina," he said. "Everyone was excited. I feel the defense did well. The defensive backs did well. They did a god job of containing Sammy Watkins. He got behind them on one deep route but other than that they did well.

Harris' meeting with Steve Spurrier was a highlight of the trip.

"Yes sir, it was great speaking to the Ball Coach. He reminds me of my coach at St. Thomas, George Smith. He has a presence about him because he's very successful and one of the greatest coaches ever. He's down to earth."

Harris' season ended earlier than he hoped, but he is prepared to begin the next chapter of his career.

"We did well. We made it to the third round. We ended up losing to Dwyer, though. I can't complain. I'm going to train very hard to work on my technique and continue to study the game and just prepare myself. I'm thinking June (to arrive at USC), but I have to talk to my guidance counselor more right now."



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