LEXINGTON¿— Josh Harris is ready to compete again.
“I can’t wait to get back on the field again,” he said.
“I haven’t had any problems with (my foot), so I think it’s going to be really good,” he said. “Rehab is always extremely tough. I’ve gone through ankle injuries before, but this is probably one of my hardest rehabs. When you’re off of it for so long, it’s just tough, starting from square one and building all of that muscle back.”
Harris played mostly outside linebacker at Mason County and was the team’s running back, but did play sparingly in the secondary as a rover back as a member of the Royals’ defensive unit. During his career at Mason County, he rushed for 2,848 yards and 42 touchdowns despite missing most of his senior campaign.
“We played a little cover three in high school,” he said. “I have a little bit of experience (in the secondary), but I’m getting a lot more (experience),” he said. “I’m learning our defense a lot more, because I was an outside linebacker (in high school). I’m getting better with my coverages and all-around I’m getting a lot better.”
The adjustment from high school to college wasn’t a surprise to Harris, who expected a period of adjustment following his arrival on campus.
“I knew it was going to be tough and it’s always a challenge coming into something new,” he said. “I’ve adjusted well. It’s not been too bad. I’m getting bigger, stronger and faster.”
Kentucky senior Mikie Benton has helped Harris adjust to his new surroundings, another factor in his ability to catch on to the playbook quickly.
“I’ve learned the most from him,” he said. “He’s a great athlete. I’m close to most of the guys and it’s been great getting to know them.”
Harris not only has been impressed with Benton, but also likes the makeup of the current squad and hopes that he can contribute on defense in his first season at the collegiate level.
“I think we have all of the material we need to get there,” he said. “Right now, we’ve got all the leadership we need and the puzzle pieces we need. Right now, we’re just working on putting them together and making it click. I want to (contribute), but it’s up to how everyone else does and what the coaches think and who they think are the best and should be on the field. It’s all about knowing the plays,” he said. “It’s really about who’s the best and who will be playing.”
Harris’ family roots run deep in football. His father Larry played at Western Kentucky University and was coached by Kentucky assistant coach Mike Cassity. Harris’ uncle Lanie Fonas also played for the Hilltoppers. Kentucky coach Joker Phillips said Harris has the same traits as father and uncle.
“Josh Harris is a guy that has a lot of athleticism,” Phillips said. “He’s long (and a) very, very intelligent guy.”
During the past month, Harris has been counting down the days to the team’s season-opener on Sept. 2 at Louisville and is eager to begin his college career.
“You can’t get any better than that — playing your rival in the first game,” he said. “We’ve got to start the season off right.”