He was a quarterback and defensive back for the Horn Lake Eagles in high school. Now, Darius Harris could be taking the field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. this season for the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL.
Harris, a first-team all-conference selection who played all 14 games as a linebacker with Middle Tennessee State last fall, has signed a contract as an undrafted free agent with the Chiefs. Harris could be playing on Sundays this fall as part of a team that last season came one game short of being in the Super Bowl, losing to the New England Patriots 37-31 in overtime in the AFC Conference Championship game.
The Horn Lake product became a very productive part of the Blue Raider defense last season as a redshirt senior. Harris made 96 tackles, including 11 tackles for loss. He also figured in on five quarterback sacks.
Harris was invited to play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl at the end of the season, where he finished with 10 total tackles. His play in the New Orleans Bowl against Appalachian State gave him 53 career appearances in a Blue Raider uniform, which tied teammate Darryl Randolph for the school record.
As a redshirt freshman, Harris was named to the C-USA All-Freshman team after getting 44 tackles, a tackle for loss, an interception and a forced fumble in his rookie year at Middle Tennessee.
“I’m excited,” Harris said by phone last week. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do all my life, to play at a professional level. Of course you want to get drafted, but I’m getting the chance to play and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Harris said he will take full advantage of the chance to play in the NFL and not worry about being overlooked in the NFL draft.
“I wanted to get drafted, but it’s really not about how you get there, it’s about what you do when you get there,” Harris said. “I’ll be ready to roll.”
Harris pointed out he took a number of pre-draft visits to NFL teams for workouts but once the draft was finished, it came down to the Chiefs and Houston Texans on who he might agree to play for.
“Kansas City was one of the places I took visits to, it was the first one I did,” Harris said. “We talked then and had a good visit. We kept in contact and after the draft it really came down to Kansas City and Houston. I felt like Kansas City was a better fit for me.”
Harris said he’s spending time with his family now before training camp for the Chiefs starts in late July at nearby St. Joseph, Mo.
TAYLOR, BULLDOGS HEAD TO ITALY: The Mississippi State women’s basketball team, including Myah Taylor of Olive Branch, will leave Starkville Wednesday evening to play in the World University Games at Naples, Italy. While in Italy, the Bulldogs, playing as “USA Team,” will play in three pool games against Mexico, Slovakia and Taipei. The top two teams from each of four pools will advance into an eight-team bracket to determine the medal winners. Mississippi State will also play a friendly game against Japan on July 1 at a U.S. Naval base there ahead of the tournament start.
DAVIS TO SUMMER LEAGUE HOOPS: Spurned from being selected in Thursday’s NBA draft, Ole Miss Rebel Terence Davis of Southaven is also going the undrafted free agent route, having signed a deal with the Denver Nuggets. Davis was not chosen in the NBA draft, despite at one time being considered among the top-40 prospects available. Reports are Davis will play for Denver in summer league basketball action.
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.