The excitement of the recruiting process had worn off and Brendon Harris had reached the point where he knew the only way to regain some normalcy was to go public with his college choice. So Friday afternoon Baylor's all-state defensive back announced he will sign to play football for the University of Tennessee.
"The relationships I built with them made them the best choice for me," Harris said. "I know many people there and others going there so I will have friends there, which made it feel like home. It's also really close to home, so it's convenient for my family to get to the games.
"It just came to the point where I knew this was the place that's right for me. Unless you are a recruit or have been through the process, you honestly don't know how stressful it is."
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Harris is rated a four-star prospect by both Rivals.com and 247Sports.com and is considered one of the state's top five overall recruits. He's also considered by every noted recruiting services as one of the nation's top 10 defensive backs and among the top 100 overall prospects.
"I'm really happy for Brendon, because I know the recruiting process can be a grind," Baylor coach Phil Massey said. "I'm glad that he found a program where he feels comfortable enough to commit and plan his future.
"Tennessee is getting a great character kid and a solid student who just happens to also be an exceptional athlete. He has a unique awareness and the ability to anticipate where the ball is going and how to use his body to go defend it."
Harris said he plans to take advantage of the new NCAA rule allowing high school seniors to sign early and will sign with the Vols in December. He also had scholarship offers from defending national champion Clemson as well as Auburn, LSU, South Carolina, Florida State and Vanderbilt, among others.
"The coaches said they'll be needing a safety with Todd Kelly Jr. graduating, so they actually want me to come in and make an immediate impact at that position," Harris said.
Last season he intercepted five passes and made 76 tackles. Late in the season, with Baylor needing an infusion of speed at running back, Harris agreed to play both ways and finished with more than 600 rushing yards and five touchdowns. He's likely to add kick returner to his list of jobs in the 2017 season.
Contact Stephen Hargis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.