Whether it is on the gridiron or on the diamond, Oak Grove High School 2024 linebacker James Harris is a winner. This past season, he was part of the Tigers’ football and baseball state championship teams. During his prep career, losing has been a rare occurrence as Harris has been a part of four state championship teams in Oak Grove, Louisiana, and he has done so while posting a 3.6 GPA and a 21 on his ACT.
“Winning is the standard. Everybody buys in the program. Not just the players, but the coaches and our community. Our community is great. No matter what game it is, a Friday night is always electric at Tiger Stadium.”
Besides being a state champion in both sports and wearing the same school colors, there are a lot of similarities to both sports that help his skills.
“I play right field and I feel like it helps me with my reaction. Getting to a fly ball quick is like me running to make a tackle on the outside.”
He especially made an impact on the football field for the Tigers leading them to their seventh state championship this past season. Along the way, Harris was a tackling machine as he had 100 tackles, 16 TFLs, 2 FFs, 3 sacks, and even scored two touchdowns for his junior season.
“I think everyone can agree that winning a state championship is fun and it never gets old. Being a part where everybody is good at doing their job makes it easier for our linebackers to fly around and make plays.”
Flying around and making plays is what Harris does best. At 6’1, 220 pounds, there is no question in what kind of player the Oak Grove two sport state champion is as he is a downhill smashmouth linebacker that can stuff the run and at the same time, can rush the passer. He also has the tendency to make the biggest plays in the biggest moment like he did in helping his team pitch a 17-0 shutout over the Homer Pelicans in the 2022 Non-Select Division IV State Championship.
“The state championship game stands out the most to me because late in the game on third down, I got a sack and on 4th down, I had a deflected pass to put our offense in good field position to go score.”
The Tigers’ starting inside linebacker knows that his biggest strength is going downhill and tracking down ball carriers, but he knows that there are other areas he is working on in order to be a complete linebacker like some of the ones he watches in the NFL.
“For me to become a complete player, I know I have to get faster and become a better leader. Even though I play inside backer, I try to model my game after TJ Watt. Sometimes, I have to drop back in coverage and sometimes I rush the quarterback off the edge.”
Heading into his senior season, Harris has received college offers from Grambling, Alcorn State, and Mississippi Valley State.
“Alcorn shows a lot of interest and most of my family all graduated from Grambling.”
Harris’ athletic talents indeed run in the family as his dad James Harris Sr. played wide receiver at Grambling and Prairie View A&M, his uncle Thomas Burl Harris played at Northeast (ULM), his great uncle Carl Harris played at Stephen F. Austin, his other cousin Columbus Willis Jr. played for Alcorn State, and finally, his cousin Zack Williams currently plays at Grambling.
He will certainly add his name to the list as he will be a college athlete soon, but Harris will also get the opportunity to play in the 2023 Gridiron Football All-American Bowl Game.
“First, I would like to thank the committee for selecting me. It means a lot to me. I know it will be a great experience to go down there and compete with some talented guys.”
Competing and being a part of the game of football is something Harris knows how to do as he has been doing it as long as he can remember.
“I’ve played ever since I could walk. I love the camaraderie. The friendships and bonds that you build while playing the sport will last forever.”
James Harris would like to continue making those memories at the college level and a great university will get a great student athlete that brings championship attributes to the table.