Jermari Harris Sees Hawkeyes as a Good Fit

January 30, 2019

Written by Rob Howe

Iowa hit on something this year, using a 4-2-5 defensive alignment against pass-happy offenses. Amani Hooker fit the safety-linebacker, hybrid “Cash” position well with his versatility.

The Hawkeyes now are searching for his replacement after he announced earlier this month that he was foregoing his final year of eligibility and entering the NFL Draft. Defensive coordinator Phil Parker likes senior-to-be Michael Ojemudia and redshirt-freshman-to-be D.J. Johnson to potentially play the spot. Linebacker coach Seth Wallace says the program is looking for others in recruiting.

Enter Lombard (IL) Montini Catholic High senior Jermari Harris, who Iowa has been building a relationship with for the last couple months. It’s the same school that gave the Hawkeyes defensive tackle, Jaleel Johnson, now with the Minnesota Vikings.

After visits from Parker last week and Wallace on Monday, Iowa extended a scholarship offer to Harris (6-1, 175) Tuesday morning. He unofficially visited campus two times last month, watching the Hawkeyes prepare for the Outback Bowl.

“It means the world to me,” Harris told HN Wednesday morning about picking up the Iowa opportunity. “I’ve been waiting on this since my junior year. (Coach Wallace) said I’ve been patient with them, and I’m what they are looking for in a Hawkeye.”

Harris plans on announcing his college decision on Monday.

He earned all-conference and all-area honors this fall after recording 72 tackles, eight interceptions, five pass breakups and two forced fumbles. He officially visited Ball State and North Dakota State. He was scheduled to visit Northern Illinois this weekend, but has switched it to an Iowa official.

The Hawkeyes play host to Harris already having built a strong foundation following his unofficial visits to campus.

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“What stood out to me on those visits was how professional they carry themselves from practice to dinner. The practices are smooth and detailed and they get a lot better in that time. Also, with the coaches, I’ve seen them communicate with their players and they talk to me in the same way,” Harris said.

The coaches have told him that they like his length and potential to grow at the next level. They believe his ceiling is high, like that of Jaleel Johnson.

“They loved Jaleel there and from what I’ve been told, Jaleel wasn’t the greatest high school player but they developed him into a high-profile player and now he’s in the NFL,” Harris said.

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The staff would wait until Harris arrives on campus before determining what position he plays. It doesn’t want to pigeon hole him into one spot.

“We haven’t talked about what they would want me to play. I’m open to anything they tell me to play. That’s what I believe separates me is my versatility,” he said.

Harris also is excited about the education available to him at the Big Ten university. He looks forward to finding out more about it this weekend.

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“In college, I’ll be studying Business and Finance, ultimately wanting to become a commercial realtor,” he said.

Northern Iowa, South Dakota State, South Dakota, Eastern Illinois and Indiana State are among the other schools that have offered Harris scholarships. His Hudl page shows him running the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds and with a 32.5-inch vertical jump.

Here’s a look at his senior highlights:

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