The future for the Georgia Bulldogs' secondary got much brighter in June when highly regarded cornerback prospect AJ Harris joined their 2023 recruiting class.
Harris, who checks in at 6'1" and 180 pounds, is a 5-star prospect and the No. 29 overall player in the 2023 class, per 247Sports' composite rankings. He is also the No. 4 cornerback and the No. 4 prospect from the state of Alabama in his class.
Before committing to the Bulldogs, Harris was considering Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Notre Dame, LSU and North Carolina. That lists indicates how high his ceiling is as he reaches the college level.
While it's typically a long shot for any program to land an elite recruit from the state of Alabama when they have to deal with Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide, Harris told Stephen Means of Cleveland.com he was originally from California and accustomed to moving because his father was in the military.
"It's not really hard for me to just move to far places," he said. "I'm open to wherever and whoever develops me the best and put me in the best position to get to where I want to get to in life."
Fortunately for Georgia, Harris believes it is best positioned to help him succeed. He should help the Bulldogs as well given his overall skill set. As someone who ran track in high school, he is fast enough to keep up with wide receivers downfield, but he's also physical enough to break up underneath routes and contend for jump balls.
Andrew Ivins of 247Sports deemed Harris the "alpha dog" of the Under Armour All-America Camp Series in March 2021 and pointed to his ability to shut down receivers in one-on-one drills. In fact, Ivins noted the cornerback was so impressive he pushed to be "considered one of the nation's top overall prospects regardless of position."
That is welcome news for Georgia, which consistently needs to reload to compete at the championship level it expects to on a yearly basis.
That won't change next season, especially since cornerback Kelee Ringo is a potential top-five pick in the 2023 NFL draft draft. The Bulldogs' secondary will need to replace his production and leadership, and Harris will join a crowded defensive back room in 2023 that could include Nyland Green, Daylen Everette, Kamari Lassiter and Javon Bullard.
Expect Harris to start in a backup role when his college career begins, but his talent will be impossible to ignore as he works his way into the 2023 rotation.