SPRINGFIELD — The Harris twins are running out of events to share together.
Two weeks after his brother signed a college scholarship to play baseball at Gulf Coast, Rutherford’s Dondrell Harris signed his own letter of intent Wednesday to play football at Troy University.
“I couldn’t ask for more,” Harris said. “It’s a blessing. I’ve had my parents and my brother pushing me.”
Harris was flanked on each side by his parents, Donald and Cheryl, and his brother, Dondrayas, during a signing ceremony held in The Ram House. Harris said the opportunity to play close to his family weighed heavily in his decision, and he noted that he has extended family that lives in Dothan, Ala., just an hour-long drive from the Troy campus. (Click here for photos from area signings)
“It was a big part,” he said. “Without my family I couldn’t do any of this. My father, ever since I was 11, has pushed me to have my grades.”
Harris is a 6-foot, 185-pound defensive back who said he will split time between nickelback and safety with the Trojans, who finished 5-7 last year and sixth in the Sun Belt Conference with a 4-4 mark. Harris has above-average speed and doesn’t shy away from contact.
“They’re getting a young man who is an athlete, a leader, a football player and an academic guy,” Rutherford coach Alvin Dempsey said. “I see him excelling at the college level. I see him maturing. I’m a graduate of Troy, and I plan on attending a lot of games.”
Harris spoke about the healthy competition with his brother, noting both of them wanted to beat the other “even if we were just walking.” The brothers never have been separated in school, but that will change next fall.
“It will be a little weird at first,” Harris said. “But I’ll keep in contact with him.”
“They’ll get to see each other compete,” Dempsey said. “It will be a good thing for both of them.”
Dondrayas Harris praised his brother for putting himself in a position to continue his athletic pursuits in college.
“It means something special,” he said. “They’re getting a real jokester, and he’s a competitor for sure.”
Dondrell Harris said he intends to arrive on campus ready to contribute to the Trojan program.
“They’re getting a hard worker,” Harris said. “If they see you sweat, they’ll come right at you. I give 150 percent whether it’s game time or practice. They’re getting a hard worker and a mature young man.”
Harris said he intends to use his education to pursue a career as a pharmacist.
“I like being able to help people,” he said.