2000: Harris, a dominating blocker and able receiver, will start at tight end for his fourth season as a senior in 2000.
PAUL HACKETT SAYS: “Antoine has worked hard throughout his career, and particularly in this off-season, to have a great senior year. He’s more serious than ever. He’s a nice combination blocker and receiver from the tight end spot.”
1999: Harris started for his third season at tight end as a junior in 1999. Overall while appearing in all 12 games in 1999, he made 8 catches for 98 yards (12.3 average) with a TD. He had 2 catches against both Oregon State (36 yards) and Louisiana Tech (17 yards). He caught a 13-yard touchdown versus San Diego State. He also made 1 tackle (against Arizona State). He did not start against UCLA (but he did play) after straining his left hamstring at Washington State.
1998: Harris started at tight end for his second season as a sophomore in 1998. Overall while appearing in all 13 games in 1998 (an ankle sprain forced him to come off the bench against Oregon State and Florida State), he had 13 receptions for 154 yards (11.8 avg.) with 1 TD. He had a pair of catches against Purdue (6 yards), San Diego State (21 yards), Washington (10 yards) and UCLA (25 yards, including a 4-yard TD), while his 66-yard catch-and-rumble at Washington State set up USC’s final TD. After the season, he had arthroscopic surgery to remove torn cartilage in his right ankle.
1997: Harris started all of 1997 at tight end, becoming USC’s first-ever true freshman to start at tight end. He was named to the 1997 Sporting News Freshman All-American second team. Overall in 1997, he caught 12 passes for 160 yards (13.3 avg.). He led USC with 4 catches for 52 yards at Notre Dame. He also had 3 grabs for 34 yards versus Stanford. In his debut in the Florida State opener, he caught 2 passes for 28 yards, both for first downs.
HIGH SCHOOL: His 1996 honors included Super Prep All-American, Prep Star All-American, Schutt Sports All-American, USA Today All-USA honorable mention, Super Prep All-Farwest, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best of the Rest, Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team, All-CIF Southern Section first team, All-CIF Division I Defensive MVP, Los Angeles Times Glenn Davis Award (as the top Southern California prep football player), Los Angeles Times All-Los Angeles Lineman/Linebacker of the Year, and All-Del Rey League MVP as a senior at Loyola High in Los Angeles (Calif.). He had 22 catches for 460 yards (20.9 avg.) and 7 TDs as a tight end and 68 tackles with 12 sacks, 4 caused fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and 2 interceptions (he returned 1 for a TD) as a defensive end in 1996. As a 1995 junior, he made Cal-Hi Sports All-State Junior second team and All-Del Rey League honorable mention while catching 16 passes for 224 yards (14.0 avg.) with 1 TD. During his 2 seasons as a starter, Loyola went 23-5 and played in 2 CIF Division I finals. Current Trojans Mike MacGillivray and Ray Kasper also prepped at Loyola. Harris was coached at Loyola by ex-USC tailback Steve Grady. Harris also played basketball at Loyola.
PERSONAL: He’s an international relations major at USC. His late stepfather, Robin (he died in 1990), was a standup comic and actor who appeared in movies such as “Mo’ Better Blues,” “House Party,” “Do The Right Thing,” and “Harlem Nights.” The cartoon series, “Bebe’s Kids,” is based on characters in Robin’s comedy routine.
ANTOINE HARRIS ON:
His goals: “I have team goals and I have personal goals. I want us to go to the Rose Bowl and win a national championship, and I hope to one day be drafted into professional football. I want to be the best tight end ever in USC football. In all of college football.”
His improvement: “I’ve become more of a football player. It’s a matter of watching film and learning the elements of the game. Going against guys like (ex-USC Butkus Award winning linebacker) Chris Claiborne has made me better. It’s not easy to get by those guys. Getting open depends on the style of the person covering me. If they’re faster, like a strong safety, I’ll use my size. If it’s a linebacker, I’ll try to outrun him.”
Blocking: “Definitely, blocking is my strength. In high school, we ran all the time and only passed when we needed to. I’m more comfortable run blocking. You’re going forward and you’re more aggressive. But pass blocking is more fun. It’s a style type of thing—if you lunge at a guy, he’ll get to the quarterback. So you’ve got to be more patient, and I’m learning to be patient.”
Starting as a freshman: “I didn’t expect to come in and start. My goal was to get some playing time and work my way into a starting job in the next couple of years. When the coaches were telling me I had an opportunity to start, I figured they were saying that to get my confidence up. But to have that opportunity, it’s something that everyone dreams about...It was beneficial for me. If I had redshirted, I probably would have been stronger and faster and gotten a better feel for the academics in my first season. But stepping in taught me a lot. You learn techniques. In high school, I was pretty much the biggest guy out there. Here, you’re playing against real men.”
His stepfather: “When I was a kid, going around with him, having fun, it never dawned on me that he was an actor, that he was famous. To me, he was just my dad. It never dawned on me until the last couple of years all that he did...I knew what he was doing, but was never really aware of all that. My dad was just doing his job. I didn’t look at him like a big-time actor or a big-time comedian. It was just my dad...It’s a special feeling to know that someone you loved so much, everybody looked at on such a higher level. That really didn’t hit me until the last couple of years...My teammates always ask, ‘Antoine, have you got the tapes (of his stepfathers performances) yet?’ Then they’ll come over and next thing I know I’ll have 70 people in my house. I’m more of a quiet person. I usually don’t show them. But when I do, everybody would want to be at my house. And then everybody would look at me to be the comedian and I don’t have any jokes...My advice to people who went to his comedy shows: Never get up when he’s on stage, and don’t walk in late, either. He’d get all over you...All the jokes he told, they were like everyday things. He’d use people in his jokes, but he didn’t denigrate them. They’d laugh at themselves...He was funnier at home. He’d fall asleep and we’d think he was dreaming, but he’d be talking, saying all kinds of things. Nothing but jokes. My mom and I were saying we wish we had recorded it...For a while, after he died, I thought the Lord was punishing me for some reason. I had no idea why. I was mad, because why would God take away two father from me (his birth father died in 1983)? I decided later on it was an obstacle, a challenge, to find out what life is really like, to find out what life is like without a father. I took it pretty bad. I kind of held it in. I didn’t talk to anybody. I took my frustrations out on my friends. That was a bad way of handling it. Finally, my mom and I sat down and talked about it...My mom, she was always there for me, and the rest of my family was too. When he first died, for like three months I was holding it all in. It built up in anger and the only thing I really did was fight at school. My fifth grade year I got in a lot of trouble. My friends just thought I had a bad temper. But my mom and the principal at the school knew why. They understood...He never got to see me play in high school because he had died. The biggest game I remember feeling bad about was my senior year. We lost the championship game. I had dedicated it to him and played my hardest. I wanted to win so bad, but we didn’t win. I just wanted him physically there. It would have meant the world...I just look at my little brother (Robin Jr., born shortly after Robin’s death in 1990) and see my dad. He always wanted to have a son of his own, and though he didn’t have the chance to meet his son, he got his wish.”
ANTOINE HARRIS CAREER STATISTICS