Despite Stature, Big-Hearted Harris Puts Everything Into Game
Nov. 10, 2011
LOGAN, Utah -
By Megan Allen / USU Athletic Media Relations
LOGAN, Utah - Though he stands at only 5-foot-8, senior safety Chris Harris puts his whole heart into his effort on the football field.
"It's not about size," Harris said. "If you have heart, if you have toughness, you'll be okay."
That heart and toughness is exactly what Harris has, and what has made his career as an Aggie so successful. Although he's among the smallest members of the Utah State team, he puts all his effort into the game and has been rewarded for that. He has seen action in the majority of the games since he arrived in Logan.
In his time at Utah State, Harris has been a very flexible and diverse defensive player. Starting in high school, he has switched positions almost every season. From running back to receiver to his current spot at safety, he just follows his coaches and does what they ask.
"I just do what I'm asked to do, wherever they put me," Harris said. "I learn quickly, so it's easy for me to adapt."
Harris' coaches have said many times that the majority of the big-gainer kick returns Kerwynn Williams has had this season would not have been possible without having Harris in the backfield to block for him.
"I just block the most dangerous man," Harris said. "I make a scene, then just let Kerwynn do the rest."
In addition to his standout blocking to make Williams' job a lot easier and a lot more likely to be successful, Harris is also a force to be reckoned with on defense. Harris had a season-best seven tackles in the BYU game, forcing a momentum-turning fumble to give USU a chance for the win.
That sort of teamwork is what is getting the Aggies through the season toward their goal of a conference title and bowl game appearance. Although the season has not quite gone the way everyone hoped it would, the team hasn't lost hope. They refuse to give up and continue to grow and progress as a team.
"It hurts," Harris said. "Every loss hurts, but we have to move on every week. You have to just put it away and keep playing."
And that's what they are doing. Coming off a comeback win at Hawai`i, the team is ready to take on the remaining Western Athletic Conference schedule and do what they know how to do.
"We go into every game thinking we're going to win," Harris said.
Coming to Logan from his hometown of Pasadena, Calif., took a lot of getting used to and adjusting for Harris. It was nothing like what Harris was used to, but from his very first visit to campus while he was still in high school, he loved Logan and what Utah State had to offer him.
"The atmosphere is very nice," Harris said. "It's really different from Pasadena, but I was looking for something different coming out of high school."
Harris will be graduating with a degree in interdisciplinary studies in May. After that, he wants to return home to the Pasadena area.
"I want to work with the youth back home," Harris said. "Whether that's through coaching or whatever it ends up being, I know that's the direction I want to go."
For the majority of people who attend Utah State, a sense of Aggie pride is instilled in them, and Harris is no different. However, that pride grows even stronger for those who represent the university, and football players are some of those people.
If you ask any player what it means to them to be an Aggie, they will have a hard time putting it into words because it means so much to them.
"It's just a little thing called Aggie pride," Harris said. "It's about hard work. It reminds you that you have to go out there and earn everything you want in life."
Playing football, especially at the Division I level, teaches its players a lot of lessons that they can apply both on and off the football field. A hard work ethic will develop after devoting that many years to a sport. It takes dedication, learning to set goals and paying attention to detail to have a successful football career.
"Discipline is the number one thing I've learned," Harris said. "Football turns you into a man; it makes you grow up."
No matter where he ends up, or what he does with his life, Harris will be sure to give it his all and put his whole heart into it. With that, he is determined to be successful.