IOWA CITY, Iowa – John Harris is used to traveling from his home in southern California to visit relatives in and around Iowa City.
The high school junior-to-be often visits during the holidays or in late spring or summer, as is the case with his current trip.
But Harris also came for something else on this trip, something that could impact his future as a football player.
Harris was among what he estimated were approximately 100 high school football recruits who attended the Iowa football team’s one-day camp on Sunday in Iowa City.
A rising star for Bishop Diego High School in Santa Barbara, Calif., Harris practiced with the running backs at the camp, but he also plays multiple positions in high school, including defensive end and receiver.
“(Running back) is the position I play most for my high school,” Harris said Monday. “So I just figured I might as well do that.
“I just like them all.”
Harris said he worked under the supervision of Iowa running backs coach Chris White.
“We did a whole bunch of drills and then they had the running backs work against the linebackers the rest of the day doing one-on-ones, routes and stuff like that,” Harris said. “It was pretty cool.”
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Harris showed that he had a chance to be special by playing a significant role for his varsity team as a freshman.
“That’s pretty unusual,” he said.
As for the recruiting process and the possibility of being a Hawkeye, Harris hasn’t thought much about it with two years of high school still remaining.
But he was born in Iowa City and has numerous relatives who live in the area, including his older sister, Lauren O’Neil, who graduated from Iowa City Regina.
“I came in to visit my sister and her husband and my two nephews,” Harris said. “And their camp ended up being on the day that I was here, so I just decided to sign up for it.”
Harris’ cousin, Cam Lynch, also graduated from Regina this year and was a starter at defensive end for Regina’s 2015 state champion football team.
So an offer from the Hawkeyes would be significant for lots of reason.
“I haven’t really thought about it too much just to keep my options open,” Harris said of being offered by Iowa. “But that would be very cool.”
Harris missed part of his sophomore season last fall because of a left shoulder injury.
He hasn’t received any scholarship offers at this point, but some schools have expressed interest, including San Diego State and Washington.
“I’ve gotten a few letters from colleges in southern California like San Diego State and then small colleges like Grinnell in Iowa,” said Harris, who also excels in the classroom.
Harris said he had the distinction of being the player who traveled the farthest distance to attend the Iowa camp.
“It was me and there were two kids from Texas that were the farthest away,” he said.