Posted by Chip Patterson
New Miami head coach Al Golden had his first chance to officially meet with his players earlier this week, spending about an hour with them before his introductory press conference on Monday. According to reports, he made quite an impression on the team; discussing plans to elevate the program back to the next level and competing for national championships. But was his argument persuasive enough to keep talented underclassmen like cornerback Brandon Harris on board for their senior season?
“It was one of those things where you’re a little worried coming into it. You don’t know what to expect. It’s like, ‘Man, I don’t know who they’re bringing in,’” Harris said referring to Golden's hire. “Just hearing him talk, the passion he has to be here, how much he feels he can do for this program, it really relaxed everybody a little bit. It kind of took the doubt out of our minds if he could get it done.”
Whether or not Harris will stick around to "get it done" is still up in the air. He told the Miami Herald that he would not seriously think about the decision until after Miami faces Notre Dame in the Sun Bowl on December 31. After then, he will begin gathering information on his projected draft status; which appears to be one of the major factors in his decision.
"If It's something you can't turn away from, then obviously it's a different situation," Harris said. "If your not going to be a guaranteed first round pick, I don't think I would consider leaving at all. I would love to come back and play for another year. If it's not a guarantee, sure thing I wouldn't even think about it. Even if it isn't guaranteed, it's still something I'm going to weigh my options on coming back and maturing myself a little more as a player and as a person."
As of now, Harris is considered among the top 5 cornerbacks in the 2011 NFL Draft class. Current mock drafts have him falling between the mid-first round and early second. Steve Gorten, of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, believes that even if Harris is projected to be a second round pick he will still enter the draft. Another factor in the decision could be whether or not Tim Harris, Brandon's father, is retained on the new coaching staff. Though Brandon claims that will not have an effect on whether or not he returns.
[VIDEO: Courtesy Manny Navarro, Miami Herald]