Iowa always has stood out to Juan Harris. When he committed to the school twice during the winter, he believed it was the best place for him.
Once he did, other schools charged after the Class of 2017 four-star defensive tackle. They invited him to camp and visit. People around him encouraged him to look at the blue bloods and he obliged.
Harris (6-3, 350) saw 21 other campuses this spring. He stopped at name brands like Texas, Michigan, Alabama, LSU and Georgia.
In the end, he wound up where he started. Thursday, he committed to Iowa with the knowledge that it still was the place for him after spending weeks on the road at other campuses.
"It’s the place to be. They’re not the big name team but it’s the place to be," Harris said.
Harris reported additional scholarship offers from, among others, Wisconsin, Michigan, Louisville, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vanderbilt and Virginia. Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State, Oregon, Georgia, LSU, Michigan State, Penn State and USC were showing interest.
After speaking with a lot of coaches at a lot of schools, the West Union (IA) North Fayette High product realized he connected the most with the Hawkeye staff.
"They’re genuine. They’re sincere. They tell you what’s the truth and they don’t worry about other schools. Some schools offer kids just because another school offered. Iowa offers because they really want you. And when they really want you, they come and get you. You know they care from being around them," Harris said.
Harris understood that some people would question the strength of his commitment based on his previous de-commitments. He committed to Iowa on December 1. He de-committed on Jan. 2. He re-committed on Jan. 18 before backing off the pledge on March 17.
The difference now, Harris said, is that he’s seen what else is out there. People advising him can take comfort in him doing his homework. His parents are on board with his choice, he said.
"They just told me that it was my decision. They said they can’t make my decision for me," Harris said.
Harris puts a lot of faith in his godfather, who visited Michigan with him.
"He just told me to make the best choice for me and make sure I do what’s right and not commit and de-commit from more schools. I want to say that I am shutting down my recruitment. I just want to let everybody know that I am truly committed to Iowa. That’s the place for me and that’s the place I want to be," Harris said.
Harris said he currently is visiting his mother in Janesville, Wisconsin and will be heading out to Adidas, Football University Top Gun and Under Armor camps this summer.
"The only camps I’m doing are the showcase camps. I’m not going to any other college campuses. If I do go to a team camp, it will only be Iowa. I will be visiting Iowa. That’s the only school I will be visiting," he said.
Rivals rates Harris as a four-star prospect. 247 ranks him as a four-star, the No. 1 player in Iowa for ’17 and No. 21 DT nationally in the class. Scout does not have him ranked.
Madrid (IA) High defensive end Coy Kirkpatrick became the first Class of ’17 verbal commitment for Iowa when he pledged on June 8. Pledges are non-binding until February of the class’s senior year. College coaches aren’t allowed to talk about them until then.
CLASS OF 2017 IOWA VERBALS (Click on Player for Profile Film & Other Offers)