While the crucial North Carolina Tar Heels visit looms this weekend for former LSU Tigers quarterback Brandon Harris, the Texas Longhorns continue to pursue the Louisiana native, head coach Tom Herman confirmed on Monday.
Texas coach Tom Herman said of transferring LSU QB Brandon Harris, "We are recruiting him." No word on when he will visit Austin.— Kirk Bohls (@kbohls) March 21, 2017
According to Anwar Richardson of Orangebloods, Herman is targeting the first weekend in April to get Harris to Austin for a return visit — he trained at Westlake last summer with quarterback guru George Whitfield.
Harris is attempting to fit his visits around his father’s schedule, so he doesn’t yet have firm travel plans as the ‘Horns appear to be a second option, behind the Tar Heels but ahead of the Arizona Wildcats and a group of other schools.
Depth chart considerations are playing a major role in that positioning for Texas, but Harris likes what he finds when he reads between the lines with the Longhorns.
“I am not saying how coach Herman is thinking, because I don’t know how he thinks, or how coach (Tim) Beck (offensive coordinator) thinks, but I don’t see any situation where a guy brings a senior in for one year to sit on the bench,” Harris told OB. “I’m not saying they are promising me anything. I haven’t been promised anything. I’m just saying, rationally speaking, in most scenarios if you think you’re solid at quarterback, and I don’t know what they think. You probably know more than I do, but if they think they’re solid at quarterback, they probably don’t do that.”
The new system Herman is installing at Texas gives Harris a better shot at joining the program during the summer and making an impact on the depth chart — sophomore Shane Buechele, the incumbent starter, and early enrollee Sam Ehlinger are both learning it themselves this spring.
And Herman doesn’t plan on naming a starter before or after the spring-ending Orange and White game on April 15, as the competition is slated to last through the early part of preseason camp.
In addition to the pre-existing relationship between Herman and Harris dating back to the former LSU starter’s recruitment out of Shreveport, Harris is friends with former Houston quarterback Greg Ward and believes that he could learn the offense quickly after commanding a complicated pro-style attack employed by the Tigers that included “300 to 400 plays.”
“I don’t think it will be difficult at all,” Harris said. “Let’s just say I want to go to Texas, and we get everything lined out. They could send me their playbook and I can begin to learn it. Like I said, I don’t think it will be that difficult to learn it because I know what it’s like to master a pro-style system.”
In fact, Harris cited former LSU quarterback Anthony Jennings and NC State-turned-Wisconsin standout Russell Wilson as players who quickly made the transition to new schools.
With Harris hungry to play in an offense that actually makes use of the skill set that made him the consensus No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the country out of Parkway High School in 2014, he sees Texas as an opportunity to showcase his skills.
For the Longhorns, Herman likely sees Harris as another option to continue to push Buechele, insurance against being forced to burn the redshirt season of Ehlinger if Buechele gets banged up, and as a potential starter based on his experience and significant skill set.
On those latter points, don’t get caught up on what Harris did at LSU in a system that eventually resulted in the termination of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and head coach Les Miles — project his talent into an offense that can maximize his ability, then consider his potential impact on the quarterback room.
After that mental exercise, consider the fact that Herman, as usual, has a plan, and it’s one worth trusting because the potential rewards well outweigh the minimal risk involved.