Central-Phenix City vs. Thompson, 7A 2018

Central-Phenix City safety Mike Harris (11) celebrates after the Red Devils beat Thompson in the Class 7A state championship game in Auburn's Jordan-Hare Stadium on Dec. 5.

Central-Phenix City safety Mike Harris said he wants to be part of building something special in college. On Sunday, he set his sights on doing just that in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Harris announced his commitment to Arkansas on Sunday after visiting the Razorbacks’ campus that weekend. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Harris chose the Razorbacks over offers from other schools such as Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU and Tennessee.

Harris said he plans to sign with the Razorbacks on the traditional National Signing Day on Feb. 5. Harris plays safety at Central, but he said he could play there or at cornerback in college.

“They’re loyal down there. It’s very safe out there. There’s a lot of things you can do. It felt like home when I went there,” Harris said. “I’m the type of guy who always wants to start something new and just working on building it. At Arkansas, they’re definitely in the building process right now, and I want just help them be the best they can be.

“(Committing) felt great. It felt like I’d gotten a burden off my shoulders.”

Harris is considered a three-star safety per 247Sports’ composite ratings. Per the same metrics, he is the 41st-best recruit in the state of Alabama’s Class of 2020.

Harris had the tough task this fall of being the only returning defensive back in a Central secondary that lost several playmakers, including Clemson signee Ray Thornton. Through 10 games, Harris has 45 tackles and one fumble recovery on defense that is giving up just 14.4 points per game.

“Mike, number one, is very athletic,” Central head coach Jamey DuBose said in the spring. “He’s probably our fastest kid on the football team. He runs very well, and he’s got length. That’s one of the things these larger schools — and any school — likes. They like height, they like length and they like speed. From there, you’ve got to be able to have the highlights. You’ve got to be able to show that you can hit, have contact and make plays. Mike’s been able to do that.”

Harris is now in line to become the second Central football player to go to Arkansas. He will join former Red Devils running back A’Montae Spivey, who signed with Arkansas as part of the Class of 2019.

Harris credited Spivey for playing a role in his final decision.

“(A’Montae) is my brother, and knowing that he wanted to do the same thing and that we have the same goals of building the team and helping them become great helped,” Harris said. “He was my host when I got down there. I tried to keep (my decision) away from him until Sunday. I kind of surprised him.

“He was loving it. He’s got a brother coming down there with him. Football is already family, but when you have that family that’s from your hometown, it’s a different family.”

Harris’ numbers this season may not jump off the page, but they’re a product of opponents knowing the damage he can cause if they go his way. Harris said most of Central’s opposition this year have worked away from him, a luxury that Harris thinks has to change now that the postseason is starting.

Harris was part of a Central team that won it all in 2018, and he’s eager to show there’s no drop-off in Phenix City this time around.

“It’s all about locking in and trusting the process,” Harris said. “The coaches have a great plan for us. All we have to do is follow it and hop on board.”

Harris is determined to leave Central as a two-time state champion. As for what’s next once he’s done with the Red Devils, Harris let the Razorbacks’ fans know he plans to go all out when he finally arrives in Fayetteville.

“I will never let up. I’ll give you 100 percent. I’m here to help the team get better and better and try to build,” Harris. “I want to be like that one person — people have like a leader and that one person who can start it all and help the team get together. I try to keep the energy up every day, and I try to keep my brothers in the right line.”

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