When Miami comes to Wallace Wade Stadium Saturday, Hurricanes quarterback Jacory Harris and Blue Devil signal-caller Thaddeus Lewis won’t just be looking to improve their teams’ ACC records. The two have a bit of shared history from their time as high school quarterbacks in Miami-Dade County, Fla.
Harris, a freshman who splits time with Robert Marve, and Lewis, now a junior and the solidified starter, grew up about 20 miles away from each other in South Florida.
After Miami’s 20-14 win Saturday against UCF, Harris was asked about playing Duke, and said he was excited to take on Lewis. In high school, the two occasionally worked out together in Opa Locka, close to Lewis’ hometown of Hialeah Lakes, and in the interview with radio station 560 WQAM, Harris credited his rival with “getting him into playing quarterback.”
Harris took the starting job at Northwestern High School in 2006, when Lewis was already getting settled in Durham, so the two never met on the gridiron in Florida. Nonetheless, Harris could have chosen to play another position or another sport altogether in 2004 and 2005, but stuck with quarterbacks thanks in part to Lewis’ guidance.
Lewis earned team MVP honors in his last three seasons at unheralded Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High School, a school with no district championships since 1990. Harris, meanwhile, quarterbacked powerhouse Northwestern to state championships in 2006 and 2007; last season the Bulls also defeated Southlake Carroll High, one of the best teams in Texas and the school that produced Missouri star Chase Daniel, en route to an unofficial ranking as the nation’s best team.
For comparisons of the two schools’ pedigrees, just check out their records from last year. Northwestern went 15-0, including a 63-0 thrashing of Lewis’ alma mater, and a whopping seven Bulls received scholarships to Miami; in contrast, Hialeah-Miami Lakes went just 1-10 in 2007.
The recent differences between Miami and Duke are vast, but nowhere near as oceanic as that.
–by Gabe Starosta