Some things in life seem to always come full circle. For former college wide receiver, Michaelee Harris from Miami, FL, life has become a complete 360. Harris burst onto the scene playing at the legendary Northwestern High School. He caught 30 passes for 533 yards and six touchdowns as junior and helped led the team to the 6-A state title. Harris would go on to become ranked as the 13th-best wide receiver and rated No. 99 in the Sentinel’s Florida Top 100. Harris was recruited as a 4- star wide receiver prospect where QB Teddy Bridgewater also played.
Head Coach Charlie Strong recruited South Flordia turning the Cardinals into a football factory. After his playing career, Harris entered the coaching ranks returning home to Miami. He would accept positions at the University of Miami and his former Miami Northwestern High School.
Cardinal fans rarely had a chance to see Harris play at full strength. Harris caught 37 passes for 455 yards and two touchdowns during his redshirt freshman season returning from injury. He was also a part of the 2013 Sugar Bowl Champions. Harris is tied for third all-time in receptions and ranked fifth in receiving yards among freshman wide receivers. Everything seemed to be in line for Harris to breakout as Bridgewater’s favorite target. But another injury, this time a torn ACL began to take a toll on him. Despite injures, Harris would go on to be a team leader in the locker room.
After receiving his bachelor’s at UofL, Harris was granted a graduate transfer year to the Akron Zips. Unfortunately, Harris suffered yet another ACL tear that kept him from seeing the field for the Zips. But that didn’t deter Harris from staying within the game.
“My college experience helped me transition into a coach by default, I was dedicated to becoming a better football player and to learning the ins and outs about playing the WR position. That alone prepared me to be a coach. I wanted to be as valuable as I could be for the NFL. I learned how to play WR from every WR position on the field. I learned play progression, coverage recognition, and how to identify different personnel on defense.” Harris said. “The list goes on but it trained me and prepared me for coaching when I was trying to be the best. It also helped that my work ethic and thirst to be a better athlete launched me into relationships and connections with coaches that would play a huge part in me becoming a coach”
Returning Home to Coach
After Harris playing career, he joined the Illinois Fighting Illini as a Quality Control and Assistant Wide Receivers Coach. Harris would then return home to one of the most storied college football programs at the University of Miami Hurricanes. With the Hurricanes, he now serves as a Graduate Assistant Coach for wide receivers.
He is also currently the Pass Game Coordinator and WR Coach at Miami Northwestern Senior High School. He coaches four-star wide receiver Romello Brinson and three-star tight end Khalil Brantley. Both have committed to the University of Miami for 2021. As a coach, he can share stories of his grit and determination to instill in the youth. While some only see their success coming on the field of play, Harris has shown through adversity there are still ways to succeed through the game of football in other ways.
“I returned to my hometown to coach because I wanted to make a difference on the high school level. I had the opportunity of coaching in an assistant role on the collegiate level for a few years. I realized that most of the kids coming from the inner city area weren’t as knowledgeable about the game of football and their specific position to be able to compete on the next level. They started off college at a disadvantage because of their lack of knowledge. My goal was to come back to this talented hotbed of athletics and give out the knowledge I acquired on the collegiate level and to further the young athletes coming out of the area from which I am from.”
Outside of coaching Harris seeks to give back to his community and provide kids the opportunities he didn’t have. Football has always been an escape for a lot of Miami minorities. Harris and Desmond Davidson of Total 360 Management are expanding outside the norms of the sport. While sports are a way to a better life it is not the only way and through community initiatives, Harris wants to improve the lives of others.
“I hope to achieve prosperity, help Total 360 Management become a better organization, and contribute to the organization as much as I can. As well as take advantage of the resources and opportunities that Total 360 Management has, as we gain ground together and create prosperity through the different platforms that the organization can reach.”
Harris has overcome injuries that may have taken the joy of football from other players. But his perseverance and love for the sport pushed him to inspire others. Miami-Dade County will become a much better football product and community with the return of Michaelee Harris.