AJ Harris: What Dawgnation needs to know about the Georgia football 5-star cornerback prospect
Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This rep has the latest with 5-star cornerback AJ Harris. He ranks as the nation’s No. 3 CB and the No. 32 overall prospect for 2023 on the 247Sports Composite ratings.
There are a number of stories on 2023 recruits that DawgNation will publish today that have been committed for quite some time.
Most of these “get to know” stories will be about the highest-ranking recruits in the class. The feeling among our editorial staff was we didn’t want their decisions to get lost in the crowd of all the breaking news and new commits coming down the track on the first day of the early signing period.
When it comes to Central Phenix-City (Ala.) 5-star cornerback AJ Harris, there is a lot to share and probably just as much to love.
What is DawgNation getting here? Whew, there’s a lot to unpack with this impressive young person.
“First off, before we get into the football aspect,” he said after he committed back in June. “They are getting a young man that is a God-fearing young man. That is going to keep God first. That alone is going to keep me on the path that I need to be on in order for me to achieve all my dreams. God has set a path for me thus far and I believe I’ve followed it well so far.”
He is an incredibly sharp speaker and communicator.
Just check out his appearance at the start of the season on the live weekly DawgNation “Before the Hedges” program.
AJ Harris: What a ‘Dawg fan needs to know about the 5-star corner today
It just seems odd to be discussing Harris as a “commit” or “signee” in this context today because he’s been a full-fledged Bulldog for four or five days now.
Harris was among the number of nine 2023 recruits that took advantage of the ability to travel to Athens and take part in bowl practices this week. He’s been sitting in his locker and walking around the facility and wearing that shiny red Georgia helmet for a few days now.
Let’s just dive into a parcel of “need to know” info about Harris.
- Comes from a strong military background. His father, Dan, retired from the Army. Harris spent the majority of his childhood living abroad. That’s likely where his maturity and perspective comes from at such a young age
- Fiery and fearless competitor. He has worked many many private hours on his craft for several years now from his coverage skills to his conditioning to his tackling form
- To take that a step further, Harris has trained alongside college and NFL defensive backs for years now. Former NFL first-rounder Jaycee Horn even personally told DawgNation in the summer of 2021 that Harris was already good enough to play in the SEC.
- Harris was a standout in the largest level of the Alabama Independent Schools Association for the first three years of his career. He was a coverage ballhawk and touchdown machine returning kickoffs. But he didn’t want to rest on that, he wanted to amp up his game in order to make him the most college-ready he could possibly be. That’s why he moved to play for Central-Phenix City in Class 7A ball. That’s the largest playing classification in Alabama.
- When he did, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Harris was the same playmaker. Maybe even ratcheted up another notch.
- Georgia coach Fran Brown was instrumental in this decision. If one wanted to find a true “Gator tears” recruit in this class, it would be Harris. There were commitment edits made of Harris choosing to play for Florida and he was a Gainesville lean at one point. During that stretch, Brown never let up.
- Harris was also a key recruiter for the ‘Dawgs in this class. His tireless work in the recruitment of 4-star EDGE Sam M’Pemba really stood out earlier this month.
- Here’s something for the scrapbook. Harris was selected as a standout MVP at the Georgia Kirby Smart Camps when he was coming up. He literally told Kirby Smart once that he was going to play for him back when he was in the sixth grade. Talk about calling one’s shot or manifesting one’s future into existence.
- Georgia TE commitment Pearce Spurlin III was also at those camps. He was named an MVP, too. Their battles were fierce back then. They were the only ones that could match up well with one another back then. Those two have had a bond ever since then.
- Harris was selected to the All-American Bowl out in Texas. When his time with bowl practices is up, he will head home for the holidays and then compete out in Texas among the nation’s top recruits. When that game ends on January 7, he will fly back to Georgia the next day to begin moving in as a full-time student at the University of Georgia.
- Finesse corner? Hardly. Harris is the prototype for a physical run-supporter out on the edge. When his Devils faced a Wing-T team earlier this season, he had 20 total tackles, including 10 solo stops.
Did you know the weekly DawgNation.com "Before the Hedges" program is available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download it.
AJ Harris: The quotes that show DawgNation what he is all about
As stated earlier, Harris is a bright and perceptive speaker. Check out a few of the more engaging things he has shared with DawgNation over the years.
- “I’m going to make sure I bring my Almighty God into this,” Harris said. “I thank him every day because I remember when I used to pray for an opportunity. My Dad and I used to talk about ways to get in front of these coaches and their eyes. We always knew I had the talent, but just we needed an opportunity to get in front of these coaches. I just want to thank my Almighty God for blessing me with 36 different opportunities to play this sport that I love with my whole heart.”
- “It was crazy because last October I was praying and working so hard to get this opportunity and it does get emotional. I believe some kids take this for granted. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Especially being in front of Georgia. There are so many kids I know that just want one opportunity to play at one school. They don’t even want all the offers. They just want one opportunity to show what they can do to get one offer. That’s why I’m so grateful. I tell people who now ask me the same questions I once had. I tell them God paved the way. Just work hard and pray that it is in God’s hands that this will be the route he has for you. He can do the same for you. All this happened because of him. Not me. I didn’t choose my route. He pushed me in a direction, then I worked hard and he blessed me with everything I have now.”
- “I love coach Kirby to death. Coach Kirby and I, man, I remember just yesterday I was at his camp. Shaking his hand. Trying to get the scholarship from him. For me to have a Georgia scholarship [offer] and for him to recruit me and show me the same love he showed me when I was in the sixth grade was just crazy. I just love the bond I have formed with Coach Kirby. I know I can call him whenever and I can talk with him about anything and we have a good relationship. I like the atmosphere of Georgia on a visit. They definitely showed a lot of love to me and a lot of hospitality to my family. That was big for me and my family just seeing how much love they showed us.”
- “I believe I’ve told you this before but once I commit, I am not talking to any more schools,” Harris said in June of 2021. “I am locked into whatever school I commit to.”
- “I’m going to tell the recruiting department to kick back and relax and watch me work,” Harris said. “I’m going to get the top guys and I’m going to make sure we get the national championship.”
- “I told him when I was younger,” Harris said of getting to meet Kirby Smart for the first time. “When I was in the sixth grade. I said ‘Kirby I am going to play for you one day.”
Have you subscribed to the DawgNation YouTube channel yet? If so, you will be able to see special 1-on-1 content with 2023 commits CJ Allen, AJ Harris and Jamaal Jarrett.
Breaking down new Georgia 5-star signee AJ Harris
- Height/Weight: 6-1/195
- School: Central-Phenix City (Phenix City, Ala.)
- Early enrollee: Yes (Bowl practices as well)
- 247Sports rankings No. 3 CB and No. 32 overall on the Composite; No. 2 and No. 23 for 247Sports
- On3 rankings No. 3 CB and No. 37 overall on the Consensus: No. 11 and No. 89 for On3
- Rivals ranking: No. 4 CB and No. 31 overall
- ESPN300 ranking: No. 4 CB and No. 33 overall
- Finalists: Alabama, Florida, Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State.
- All-American Game: He will play in the All-American Bowl out in Texas.
- High school stats or honors: He had 52 tackles, 7.5 tackles for losses, 3 INTs and 1 sack.
- Sentell’s Intel on Harris: Harris is in town this week for bowl practices and will enroll early. He was already a candidate to play early and on special teams because of his advanced development, work ethic and technique. That was even prior to that early jump start on his SEC career. He’s going to be one of the first six or seven guys from this class to make an early impact at UGA.
(check on the recent reads on DawgNation.com)
- Signing Day preview: The 12 Days of Christmas for the Georgia football recruiting class
- Georgia football recruiting: The six names left in play for UGA heading to early signing day
- Roderick Robinson II: The stuff you don’t know about the next great RB at UGA is pretty special
- Georgia football recruiting: Three lists that will triple your excitement about the 2023 class
- Several UGA commits and recruiting targets see a big rankings boost in the latest updates
- Justice Haynes: The 5-star legacy RB is set on playing for Alabama
- Kyron Jones: Previewing the weekend official visit with the NC State commit with 10.6 speed
- BREAKING: ‘Dawgs add 5-star LB Jadon Perlotte to 2025 recruiting class
- What exactly is UGA getting in its new OT commit Jamal Meriweather?
- BREAKING: Georgia flips 6-foot-7 in-state offensive tackle Jamal Meriweather to its 2023 class
- BREAKING: 5-star EDGE Sam M’Pemba decides it is time to be a ‘Dawg
- While the ‘Dawgs keep chopping it is time to put some respect on this historic winning tear
- Bo Hughley: Prized OT says his pledge to UGA remains strong
- Lawson Luckie: The real reason this remarkable young man committed to Georgia will touch your heart