TAMPA – Versatility and speed are two things that Travell Harris has a ton of. The rising Jesuit senior is fresh off a 2015 campaign in which he made an impact in all three phases of the game helping the Tigers finish 13-1 and advance to the Class 5A state semifinals on their home turf.
Harris and the Tigers fell to eventual champion Orlando Bishop Moore, 28-14 on Dec. 4. Jesuit led 7-0 after the first quarter and held a 7-7 at the break before being outscored 21-7 in the second half. The loss marked the second straight year that Jesuit was upended by Bishop Moore. In the 2014 region final, the Tigers lost to them 30-29 in double overtime.
However, Jesuit’s state semifinal appearance marked its first since the 2002 season when they were still in Class 3A. Harris said losing to Bishop Moore two years in a row is something that put a sour taste in his mouth, but he guarantees that it won’t happen again.
“This past season was very exciting. Our team bond is something unbreakable. We all worked so hard and sacrificed so much. There were a ton of people who doubted us and we proved all them wrong,” Harris said. “We went undefeated throughout the regular season and broke the school record in wins, but we felt like that wasn’t good enough.
…All we wanted was a ring on our finger and yes Bishop Moore is a well-coached team but we wanted them just as bad as they wanted us.”
At 5’9″, 175 lbs, Harris has some serious wheels and playmaking ability. He totaled 801 all-purpose yards last season including 373 on offense as a wide receiver and running back while recording eight touchdowns (four rushing, two kickoff returns, one receiving, one fumble recovery).
Harris considers himself a true athlete and says Jesuit is so dynamic because of the fact that they have other players just as athletic as him.
“This upcoming season as a senior I will still be playing all over the place. I’m just thankful that God has blessed me with a talent to play multiple positions.”
In the region semifinal win over Jefferson, 38-7, Harris made a huge play late in the third quarter. He scored on an 86-yard rushing touchdown blazing past defenders and proving his dynamic speed. (video below).
Harris earned his stripes by playing on the varsity team as a freshman. After sitting out his sophomore season due to personal reasons, he shined often as a junior and says he’s ready to breakout in 2016.
“I’ve been playing football my whole. It’s just something in my blood. I have a football family and my passion for the game is outstanding, so my confidence level is very high.”
Last season, he averaged 8.5 yards per carry on 29 rushes for 247 yards along with nine catches for 126 yards (14.0 average). Harris gets upfield in a hurry without hesitation something that sticks out about his game wherever he lines up.
He says two things he is always looking to improve are blocking and communication on the field.
As for his biggest strengths: his elusiveness with the ball, quickness of the line, route running, catching ability, speed, hips and eyes, ability to read and react and ball skills.
He proved that he can hold his own as a cornerback with three interceptions, three fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles, five pass breakups and 36 tackles last season. Due to his solid play all-around he has already earned five offers from Division-I programs: Marshall, Purdue, USF, Toledo and Colorado State.
Starring on Jesuit track and field is something that Harris says helps him build his stamina to be able to play all four quarters of a football game. He won a district championship last week and broke the school record for the 100-meter dash.
“With track I’ve become more explosive and just relax while I’m running. I’ll run with more speed but less effort.”
Harris is very fortunate to play with two very gifted players on offense, in rising seniors, quarterback Danny Boon and running back Malik Davis. Lining up alongside Davis is something that Harris calls normal since the two have been playing football together their whole lives. He says playing with both Boon and Davis is a true blessing.
“Danny [Boon] is a worker. He goes hard every practice and in the game. He just loves to have fun and lead the team. He has an awesome arm and reads defenses very well. Has great feet work and is a quarterback that I love playing with.
…Malik [Davis] is the definition of a true captain. He is the type of guy who doesn’t want all the attention. He is very humble and just an outstanding worker. He is the one who shows up early and leaves late.”
Harris is also lucky to play for such a solid head coach in Matt Thompson. Hired in Dec. 2012, Thompson has guided the Tigers to three straight district titles and a 29-10 overall record. Harris says that coach Thompson is like a father figure to him.
“He has been around the game of football for a while and the things he knows and teaches us is remarkable. He is a coach the will push you for excellence on and off the field. He is very big on academics first then the field comes second. He just loves the game of football and studies the game very well. He prepared us so that everything can be easy in the game. He is a man that likes to laugh and spend time with his family. He enlightens the room wherever he goes and he just has a happy spirit.”
Going out on the football field is something Harris says is very peaceful to him whether for a game, practice or a simple throwing session.
“When I touch the filed it’s just a different feeling than normal. All the pain and suffering goes away. I go hard in every practice and every game because I know one day those times will come to an end. So I give my all while on the field.”
His biggest role models in life are his parents and brothers, Andre and Reshay Hubbard. He says they all push him to strive for excellence and keep the mindset of doing anything you put your mind to.
His ultimate goal is to play football in the NFL like most kids his age, but he wants to do it to prove his doubters wrong and to be able to help move his family into a mansion.
This spring, he is working the hardest to master his technique and get bigger and stronger in the weight room.
Harris has lofty goals for his senior campaign.
“This upcoming season is going to be outstanding. We are going to win states and keep proving the doubters wrong. We are very determined and ready for this season. We are going to keep grinding and work hard on and off the field.”
Feeling extra confident heading into his senior season, Harris like he said, is just one of the many dynamic players that Jesuit will feature this year. He can make things happen in a hurry and expect him to put up big numbers in all three phases of the game.
His classmate Stevie Darst (Jesuit basketball’s leading scorer in 2015) called Harris “a problem on the field.” We will see how big of a problem he can be.
Favorite NFL players? – Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin and Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu
Favorite movie? – When The Game Stands Tall
Playlist before games – Future
Fun fact – “I’m scared of spiders.”
Nickname from teammates or friends – ‘Travel’, ‘Vell’
Jake Perper is the founder of Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
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