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2020 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Jared Harris, DE, Robert Morris University

Jared Harris the physical pass rusher from Robert Morris recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds owner Damond Talbot
  • Name: Jared Harris 
  • Height: 6’3
  • Weight: 255 lbs.
  • Position: Defensive End 
  • College: Robert Morris University 
  • Twitter: @JaredHarris2_

Tell us about your hometown, and what you love most about it?

I’m from Seat Pleasant, MD which is right outside of Northeast Washington D.C. This is one of the most well-known areas in MD because this is where Kevin Durant grew up, which is right down the street from me. My hometown is not the best area and also isn’t the worst. It is full of hard-working people that want to make their lives and the community better as well. What I love most about where I live is that all the people of the neighborhood are close and treat each other like family, as well as the location right outside of the city where all the good carry-outs are. 

List these three in order of importance and why: Film Study, Strength and Conditioning and Practice?

Film Study, Strength and Conditioning, and Practice. 

What do you worry about, and why?

My biggest worry in life is not living up to both of my grandmothers’ expectations and goals for me. Both of them have passed away, and they are both the biggest influences for me playing football. Seeing them work as hard as they did and to see how they supported me was my motivation early on to want to be successful in this sport. My grandmother Mary Dean always told me how happy she was to see me play when I was younger, and now that both of them are watching from above, I want them to be able to see me play at the highest level and make them proud of me. 

Give me an example of when you failed at something. How did you react and how did you overcome failure?

When I was coming out of high school, I was not able to gain a full scholarship which is any high school players goal, and I felt as though I failed my family. I never wanted my parents to pay a penny coming out of high school and I felt as though my work reflected that mentality. I felt like I truly failed them because they had to partially pay some of my college tuition so that I could go to school and play football. I added that as a chip on my shoulder and promised them I would find a way to get everything paid for. Over the past four years I worked hard each year to find a way to be successful on and off the field in order to achieve this goal. Once the proper opportunity came for me to transfer and get my entire schooling paid for was a true blessing. This past season was the full circle of what I saw a failure to it being a blessing in disguise which led to giving me the opportunity to play professional football. 

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

My leadership, my drive and ambition, and my ability to push others to dig deeper and bring out the best in them. 

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?

Julius Chestnut; RB from Sacred Heart University

What would your career be if you couldn’t play football? 

If I couldn’t play football anymore, I would definitely become a college coach. I think that coaching is a great way to help people and be a positive influence in someone’s life. Thinking back to when I first started playing football to now, every coach that I have ever had has been a positive influence on me and have all helped me to get me to where I am today. By getting into coaching I believe that I would return the favor to the young athletes out in the world that need the same guidance I was given. 

Room, desk and car – which do you clean first?

I would clean my room first because it is a great place to start and get into a cleaning groove. You start by putting on some late 90s to early 2000’s R&B to get a good vibe going, then start with something big like making the bed, folding blankets, and fixing pillows. Then you move on to folding clothes and organizing everything else in the room working down to the smaller details. This makes it easier to get into a cleaning mood to wash clothes, clean your desk, and the car.  

If there was a disaster and you could either save three strangers or one family member, which would you choose and why?

I would definitely try to save all four of them at once if that was possible, but between the two options I would save my family member first. I’m imagining if it were my mother in the disaster she would be looking at me different if she saw me rescuing the strangers first and then trying save her next. 

If you could be any television or movie character, who would you be and why?

I would be Will Smith from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. That is one of the greatest TV shows ever to be on TV. Will Smith is one of the funniest characters I’ve come to know, but this show also taught important life lessons. We have very similar personalities, outlooks on life, and the way we deal with difficult times. I also think that the different obstacles that his character overcame are similar to the ones that I faced growing up. 

Tell me about your biggest adversity in life and how you’ve dealt with or overcome it?

The biggest adversity that I had to face was going into my senior year of high school. I went to St. Johns College HS in Northwest Washington D.C. which is now one of the top high schools for football in the nation. In high school I played Quarterback until my senior year, which is when they brought in a transfer quarterback. Before my senior year I was training in the spring with my quarterback coach and receivers at St. Johns, was dropping back, planted and tore my meniscus but was not diagnosed until a month later. This set me back in terms of recruiting given that there were some colleges that wanted to see my perform at their camps. Due to my knee injury I was not able to perform at the camps which led to me falling off people’s recruiting radar. Going thru rehab, I had the goal in mind that I just wanted to get back to help lead my team to the championship. When I was finally cleared right before camp my head coach told me that I wouldn’t be able to play quarterback, something I have been doing since I was 10 tears old. This was so crushing because of how nothing I worked for was going my way at all. So, I took that hit to the chin and decided to play every other position on the field; Linebacker, Defensive End, Tight End, and even Long Snapper. Looking back, this was a blessing in disguise because of the opportunities that I was able to obtain due to the adversity and changes that I had to adapt to. 

What is your most embarrassing moment?

My most embarrassing moment was while I was still at Butler University in Indiana. At Butler, in order to get to the field, we have to go down this long tunnel from the locker room to the field. This tunnel is concrete with little rubber slats to use as grips to walk down the tunnel. One time it was cold and slippery in the tunnel so I made sure I used the rubber strips to help me get down. This one I stepped on broke, I slipped and fell on my butt, then slid the rest of the way down while the women’s soccer team was coming up the tunnel from their practice and they were laughing harder than I have ever seen them laugh.

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

The most memorable play of my college career was from this past season against St. Francis University. The game was coming down to the wire and ended up in double overtime. We were on defense; it was third down and their offense was on the 25-yard line going in trying to score. I came around the edge and was able to get a strip sack which we recovered and gave the ball back to the offense to hit the game winning kick. This moment was so electric because this was a double overtime win, and this was the first conference win that Robert Morris had in many years. Also, this was the start of the 5-game conference win streak we went on.

What song best describes your work ethic?

Dark Sky (Skyscrapers) by Big Sean is the song that best describes my work ethic. 

What is the most important trait you can have (Physical or Non-Physical) to help you succeed at the next level? 

Being strong-minded is important to succeed at the next level. By having a strong mind, it will make it difficult for the different temptations, adversity, and distractions that can arise to deter you from your goals. 

If you could bring one person back from the dead for one day, who would it be and why?

The one person I would bring back from the dead would be the great Reggie White. I would want to bring him back from the dead not just because he is one of the best pass rushers to ever play the game, but because of how spiritual as well. I would ask him questions about football, his faith and how he was able to balance the two. I would as him questions about how he was able to flip the switch and get into that beast mode that made him so great. Because I think we have big personalities, a great love for the game, as well as being men of faith it would be great to learn some lessons from him. 

If you were to open a dance club, what would you name it? 

I would name it Area 51 because of the different people that are welcome. 

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL? 

Shaq Lawson

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

Respected. Respect is one of the hardest things to get from people; it’s something that you have to work for and show people that you deserve to be respected. 

What player who had his career derailed by off-field issues do you feel for the most and why?

Shawn Oakman because of how he was falsely accused which took away every opportunity that he had in his entire life. If he did not get those charges and allegations dropped it would have ruined everything that he ever worked for. Hopefully he gets those changes back now that all his charges were dropped. 

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

Hate to lose; there are always more lessons to learn from a loss than from a win. Also, you learn more about the real sides of people whenever adversity hits. I hate losing more than I love to win, the feeling of losing stays around much longer and hurts much worse than the feeling of winning. 

Who has been the biggest influence on your life and explain why?

I see immediate family as one big influence on me and my life because they each influence and impact me in a similar manner but in different ways. My mother father and sister all play an important part in my life because they have been there since the beginning helping me along the way. My father taught me how to consistently improve and find a way to get better every day. He motivates me more than anything; not just by telling me to do better and work harder, but because he lives everything that he says. He wakes up at 4:45am daily, to get to work by 5:30am, to get home at 6pm with a smile on his face. He finds new ways to get better everyday at something because that’s the only to really better yourself. My mother taught me perseverance because of everything that she has been through. She has been through so much but still has the strength to keep pushing forward because she knows that her hard work will pay off. She taught me that going through the dark and trying times is the only way to truly appreciate the outcome. Lastly, my older sister is the one that pushes me to chase my dreams and not settle for someone else’s reality. My sister is constantly supporting me and letting me know that there is nothing wrong with chasing my dream and working for that because all people deserve the opportunity to do so. 

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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