The state of Georgia has already proven to be a fertile recruiting ground for East Carolina and first-year head coach Scottie Montgomery.
Montgomery signed four players from the Peach State in his first recruiting class last February and has another trio verbally committed to the Class of 2017. The latest Georgia product to join the Pirates is a versatile defensive back who is the most recent in a long line of major-college prospects to develop at Newnan High in Newnan, GA.
Delvonte “Tez” Harris joins offensive lineman Sergio Render (Virginia Tech), fullback Alec and linebacker Alexander Ogletree (Georgia) and offensive lineman Ray Beno (Georgia Tech) as recent Newnan prospects to get the opportunity to play at college football’s highest level.
The 6-foot, 200-pound Harris has been a regular on the Newnan High varsity since the end of his sophomore season, according to head coach Mike McDonald.
“He’s grown up here,” McDonald said. “He played for our middle school program, then on our ninth grade team before moving up to the varsity and starting for us at the end of his sophomore year.
“Tez’s talent was evident early on. He’s a very versatile kid who can really do a lot. That’s the thing that kind of stands out about him. He can play down in the box for us, back on the hash and he can play safety. He’s just a really good football player who is physical, plays hard and is just a wonderful kid to coach.”
East Carolina began pursuing Harris last spring after a junior season in which he earned All-Region 3 7-A second-team honors. The Pirates offered a scholarship in mid-May, prompting Harris to take an unofficial visit to Greenville on September 3rd to witness ECU’s season-opening 52-7 romp over Western Carolina.
After returning home to consult with his family and McDonald, Harris decided to make his pledge to ECU over offers from Charleston Southern and Western Carolina.
“Once they identified him in the spring they really stayed on him and have just done a good job of keeping in contact,” McDonald said. “He went up there and loved the atmosphere and everything about it.
“I think they got a good one. He’s kind of a hidden gem on our team. With him having to do so much, he doesn’t stand out. But I don’t know where we’d be without him. If I could have five or six of him, I’d really be in business.”
McDonald believes ECU’s interest in Harris is due in part because his skills fit nicely with the 3-4 alignment run by the Pirates.
“Their nickel (back) is more like a strong safety type, a hybrid player,” McDonald said. “I think they see he really fits the mold for them because he’s versatile – he can cover or he can play the run.”
Harris provided an example of his skills in Newnan’s 2016 season opener against Carrollton on August 18. Even though the Cougars lost, 16-6, that night, Harris helped keep the score close with his defensive work.
“We were in our nickel package, and when we go to the nickel he plays MIKE linebacker,” McDoanld said. “We were in man and he was responsible for the back. They set up a nice screen play into their boundary, and it looked like they were going to score on the play. All of a sudden, Trez flashes in and knocks the kid down for no gain. If he doesn’t make that play it’s a sure touchdown. That’s the type of stuff he does every Friday night.”
Harris is the third secondary player commit to ECU’s recruiting class and the 16th overall.
When he attended the Western Carolina game in Greenville, Harris wasn’t alone. He was accompanied by Newnan teammate Kadarius Satterwhite, a 5-10, 180-pounder, who also has an interest in ECU, but hasn’t received a scholarship offer yet.
Satterwhite splits time at quarterback and at cornerback for the Cougars. He rushed for 160 yards in Newnan’s opening game this season and recorded eight interceptions on defense. Charleston Southern, Georgia State and Mercer have offered Satterwhite.
“They (ECU) are evaluating him hard,” McDonald said of Satterwhite. “He’s a really dynamic kid, too. I think they told him to be patient. They’ve got two corners already committed, so hopefully things will work out because he really liked it up there, too.”