Zxavian Harris has narrowed his list to six schools and while all of them are in the Southeast there is a sense that he could be focused on places closest to home.
That could change over the next few months as the Madison (Miss.) Germantown four-star defensive tackle sees some schools and possibly works out at some places.
His final decision might also be aided by No. 1 running back Branson Robinson, a teammate who is looking at Georgia and other schools on Harris’ list as well.
His final six are Alabama, Tennessee, LSU, Georgia, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
In today’s Ranking The Contenders, we take a look at the top schools on Harris’ list and determine which program has the best shot at landing him.
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1. MISSISSIPPI STATE
There are two things playing in Mississippi State’s favor when it comes to Harris’ recruitment. Many believe the four-star defensive tackle is leaning toward staying closer to home, and the Bulldogs’ coaching staff has been consistently recruiting him for a long time. Those factors, plus Mississippi State’s recent success developing and producing high-level players at his position, have the Bulldogs in the driver’s seat at this point.
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2. OLE MISS
If Harris is looking to stay closer to home, then Ole Miss provides an opportunity similar to Mississippi State with the Oxford campus about 2.5 hours away. Playing for Lane Kiffin and defensive line coach Randall Joyner could also be an interesting situation. The Bulldogs probably hold the edge right now in his recruitment, but Ole Miss has excellent academic and social opportunities that could be appealing. A visit there could be really important if staying in-state is what Harris is thinking.
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From the Alabama side, there is serious interest, but like so many other prospects the coaching staff might have to see him at summer camp before going too aggressive on Harris. If the four-star makes his way to Tuscaloosa this summer, loves the experience and has a big-time showing at camp, then Nick Saban and his staff could definitely ramp up interest in the Madison (Miss.) Germantown standout. And when Alabama really wants someone the Crimson Tide rarely lose.
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Teammate Branson Robinson has Georgia probably as the clear frontrunner in his recruitment, and if the No. 1 running back in the 2022 class goes there, then could Harris follow? It’s certainly possible because the familiarity Harris seeks would be in Athens with Robinson there, so it’s something to certainly watch. Plus, after this season Georgia will lose Jordan Davis and Harris has a similar body type and playing style. It’s a stretch right now to believe Harris will go that far, but it’s not out of the question.
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Tennessee and LSU are the two other programs in Harris’ top six, and while neither can be completely counted out it just seems like a difficult path to get the four-star defensive tackle to either school. There is also some resignation that Harris is strongly leaning toward staying closer to home, and with both schools having numerous targets along the defensive line it just doesn’t seem like a strong case can be made for either school right now.