Walker's Harris signs with Alabama
by Johnathan Bentley
Feb 14, 2012 | 2404 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Walker senior Andrew Harris runs during the 4x400-meter relay at the AHSAA State Indoor Track Meet at the Birmingham Crossplex earlier this month. Harris signed a letter-of-intent with the University of Alabama on Monday. Photo by: Lee Walls Jr.
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Andrew Harris’ resume is lengthy.

The Walker senior runner has racked up multiple state championships and gold medals in track and has been an All-State competitor in cross country each of the last three years.

That said, Harris added the most impressive accomplishment to his resume on Monday — signing a letter-of-intent with the University of Alabama.

Harris will run for new head coach Dan Waters and assistant coach Adam Tribble at the Capstone.

The signing caps a memorable February for Harris, who won three gold medals and a silver at the State Indoor Track Meet at the Birmingham Crossplex earlier this month.

“I’m excited to have a chance to be part of a big program like Alabama,” said Harris, who is one of 27 signees by Alabama’s new coaching staff. “I’ve been an Alabama fan since I was born. When I started running, the dream was to run at Oregon. As I got older, especially last year and this year, I realized Alabama was absolutely perfect for me. That’s where I wanted to be.”

Alabama’s coaches have had Harris in their sights for a while.

“They started talking to me toward the end of the summer,” said Harris, who travels the nation for AAU meets after the high school season. Harris was recruited by Tribble.

“By the end of the season, I ran my best time and I called and told (Tribble). He liked that I had been running for that long and still got a personal record. He mentioned that was one of the things that impressed him the most. After that, they told me that they wanted me there for an official visit at the start of the school year,” Harris said.

The rest is history.

Harris is the second Walker athlete to sign with the Crimson Tide since last year. Justin Kamplain signed to play baseball at Alabama in 2011.

Harris has been on Walker’s track and field and cross country teams each of the last six years. He has been winning events since.

In outdoor track, Harris is the back-to-back defending champion in the 800-meter run. He is also a member — along with Bradford Lepik, Hunter Hawkins and Jeb Cowen — of Walker’s state champion 4x800 relay team. In the indoor season, Harris won a state championship in the 800m and was part of Walker’s 4x400 and 4x800 state championship relay teams. The 4x400 team set a state record. Harris also placed second in the 1600m at state.

Outside of Walker, Harris is the AAU Junior Olympic National Champion in the 2000m steeple chase.

Harris credited his fellow 4x400 and 4x800 relay team members for pushing him.

“If I was ever nervous before a race, I had Hunter, Bradford and Jeb telling me I could do it. They were always behind me the whole way, just like my family. I will miss them,” Harris added.

Walker coach Mark Aldridge has worked with Harris for the last three years.

“The first time I saw Andrew, I thought, ‘This guy is a natural runner.’ He was so smooth and effortless,” said Aldridge. “He just needed a little extra training and a little extra pushing. I was glad to be involved with it. I’m very pleased that he’s getting to go to Alabama. I think he will do extremely well there. Andrew is a self-motivator. He will be successful no matter what he does.

“You could not ask for a better person to coach athletic-wise and personal-wise than Andrew. He’s got dedication and determination. I’ve coached a lot of great athletes and (San Diego Chargers QB) Philip Rivers is one of them. Andrew Harris, to me, is the better athlete. He has all the intangibles.”

Harris, who will open his senior outdoor track season later this month, is one of several Walker athletes to sign with a college this year.

Lepik, Harris’ longtime teammate, signed a letter-of-intent with Sewanee, the University of the South. He will run track and cross country at the Tennessee school.

Other athletes who signed include: Weston Griffith (golf at Faulkner University), John Michael Knighton (baseball at Central Alabama Community College), Pollyann Scruggs (volleyball at Mississippi College) and both Machenzie Williams and Gunter Wisdom (football at Faulkner University).

Another athlete, Nic Woodley, is the Class 5A, Region 5 winner of the Bryant-Jordan Achievement Award.