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July 11, 2013

'Unbelievable' visit for Harris

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Finally, Parkway (La.) Rivals250 quarterback Brandon Harris made his visit to Auburn.

Previously scheduled to visit the Plains in June, the nation's No. 5 dual-threat signal caller and No. 186 overall ranked prospect for 2014 experienced Auburn for the first time on Thursday.

"I was glad to be here, it was unbelievable," Harris told AuburnSports.com. "I didn't want to see facilities, I wanted to talk to head coach Gus Malzahn, that's the important thing. When you have a head coach that's an offensive guy, that's big. There's stability at head coach.

"My overall impression, I was really impressed. I thought all the questions were answered as far as quarterback situation. When you've taken the steps they've taken to make sure I'm their number one guy, that means a lot to me.

"Auburn really stands out to me today and a lot was said that I liked. I feel confident walking away from here today."

Harris made the trip to Auburn with his father, Detroit. The elder Harris holds a special place in Brandon's heart and the ability for his father to attend his games in college is under consideration.

"It would mean a lot to me if my dad could come see me play, I'd be lying if I didn't," Harris said.

Harris is being recruited to Auburn by offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Rhett Lashlee. Harris said the two, and Malzahn, have been very patient and understanding of the recruiting process and the ultimate decision that awaits Harris.

"They don't pressure me to do anything or hurry my decision up. Everything he's telling me is genuine," said Harris. "They are telling me things I want to hear. When you hurry the process, that makes me not like you. It's a decision we want to make rather than the coaches -- whenever I'm making a big decision with my family and you're hurrying me, that's not the right deal. I'm taking the process slow."

Harris also had the unique opportunity to wear the jersey of his hero, former Auburn star and Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton.

"I'm a huge Cam Newton fan," said Harris. "To have that opportunity to wear that jersey and hold that trophy, that goes a long way with me."

During the tour of Auburn's campus and facilities, a brand-new feature made a significant impression.

"Auburn's a sweet place," Harris said. "I talked to Trey Quinn (Rivals250 receiver) last night and he told me how nice Auburn's dorms were. Auburn has the nicest dorms, they have the nicest dorms right now. It's sweet having them so close to the facilities. Everything is close, you have the student center close."

Harris possesses very specific goals for his college career and the college of his choosing will get a determined prospect.

"I'm going to make my decision based on what's going to help me and help me in the long run get into the NFL," said Harris. "I want to make it to the NFL, if I didn't I'd be lying. I want to be a top ten pick, if I didn't I'd be lying. I want to win a Heisman, those are goals I want to do. I don't want to come to just come, I want to make a place special."

Malzahn and Lashlee have already accomplished all that with their former pupil and Harris' role model, Newton.

"I feel like we're similar. Of course I'm 6-foot-3, and he's 6-foot-6 and he's got 60 pounds on me -- we're similar though. I feel like I throw the ball better than anyone in my class. I have the best arm in the class. As far as athleticism, I feel like I'm the best athlete and I throw more than I run it."

Auburn just signed Rivals100 quarterback Jeremy Johnson and JUCO standout Nick Marshall in the Class of 2013. But Harris isn't worried about competition.

"I have confidence, but I'm not arrogant. I told Coach Malzahn, if I said I didn't want to come to Auburn because they have Johnson, Marshall, Kiehl Frazier, then don't recruit me because I'm your wrong guy. When I come here, I'm not coming to redshirt, I want to play right away."

There are many established programs that are riding high at the moment, but that isn't Harris' concern. Harris desires to create his own path and his own legacy at the next level.

"I want to start a dynasty," Harris said. "I want my own deal, I don't want to go into a situation where it's already fixed, I want to bring a program up."

Harris told AuburnSports.com last Sunday night his finalists were Auburn, LSU and Ohio State. Harris has now visited all three programs and feels prepared to make his decision on July 18.

"I'm ready to get it over with," said Harris.

While Harris' homestate team is firmly in the final three, he's adamant that the in-state pressure hasn't made an impact.

"I haven't received any pressure to stay in-state," Harris said. "Who's to say the next week it won't turn up, but I haven't received that pressure and I couldn't care less about staying in-state."

So what actions will Harris take leading into his decision next Thursday?

"Praying. I'm going to pray over and over again," said Harris. "I want to have this right and I don't want to decommit -- this is special to me and I want to do it right the first time. It it means me saying 'War Eagle', 'LSU Tigers' or 'Buckeyes', I'm going to get it right."

Harris will announce his decision at Parkway High School at 2 p.m. Central.

Last fall, Harris threw for 2,573 yards, rushed for 667 yards and accounted for 38 total touchdowns.

Twitter: @JHokanson

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