Hoschton (Ga.) Mill Creek has had one of the most successful football teams in the Peach State over the last two seasons going an amazing (26-2) while making two trips to the GHSA State Semifinals in Georgia’s largest classification. During that span, they have gone (13-0) in region play versus the likes of Norcross (Ga.), Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett and Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge.
Leading the way for Mill Creek is Shannon Jarvis, the school’s only head coach since its inception in 2004. Not only has he built the Hawk Nation into a feared Georgia power, he has produced 96 athletes that have gone on to play college football after high school.
A key returning member of this explosive offensive juggernaut is 6-foot-4, 270-pound offensive lineman John Harris. The Hawks averaged over 39 points per contest using an extremely balanced attack. Harris’ efforts did not go unrecognized earning First Team 6-AAAAAAA All-Region by the Atlanta Journal Constitution along with fellow line mates Tyler Fannin and Jack Franklin, the latter two signed with Virginia and Coastal Carolina respectfully.
“John is such a versatile offensive lineman, he’ll have multiple opportunities to play at the next level because of his great hip and knee flexibility,” Jarvis said. “He has a very high work ethic and really understands the technique of the positions. He has played guard, tackle and is prepared at a moment’s notice to step in at center.”
This past Saturday Harris made his final decision on where he intends to play his college ball. It really came down to two schools, Virginia Tech and Michigan State. The Hokies came away big winners securing the commitment of this versatile offensive lineman. At the time of his commitment Harris had more than 30 DI offers. Harris is currently ranked a three-star offensive guard according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings.
“Virginia Tech was my second offer and I have had a lot of time to build a relationship with all the coaches,” Harris said. “There academics are very good and I always felt at home when I visited there.”
Coach Jarvis believes that the Hokies are not only getting a great player but an even better individual.
“He is the type of kid that analyzed everything from academics to football, Jarvis said. “His attention to detail is what has propelled him to becoming an elite level lineman. He reminds me a lot of Auburn’s Kaleb Kim, one of my former players, who is battling for multiple starting positions as a redshirt sophomore.”
Academically, Harris currently has a 3.2 core GPA and a 1,010 on the first take of the SAT. He is contemplating taking the ACT later this year.
“I plan on majoring in Environmental Science, so the fact that Blacksburg is in the mountains just really goes along with my major,’ Harris said. “It’s just so beautiful there on campus and all around the Blacksburg area.”
Harris is also looking forward to playing for his future position coach who was the point man in his recruitment.
“Coach Vance Vice was my lead recruiter and he is also the offensive line coach at Tech, he was the coach that always came down to visit the school,” Harris said. “I’m glad the decision is out of the way, the whole process has been stressful. I just want to focus on having the best and most fun senior season I can have.”
Harris is one of three returning starters for the Hawks and the lone offensive lineman while defensively, there are also just three returning starters. With the bar set so high at Mill Creek, how will they respond with such heavy losses in personnel?
“I just keep telling the guys on the team to ignore what everyone is saying about us because we lost a lot of players to graduation,” Harris said. “We need to focus on us, and I think we’ll do better than last year. We are a tight-knit group and the hardest working team that Coach Jarvis has ever had.”
Coach Jarvis is depending on Harris to guide is young, but talented sophomore and junior classes this fall. Not only do they play in a very competitive region their non-region schedule includes playoff regulars Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern, Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson and Lawrenceville (Ga.) Archer, each loaded with major DI talent.
“He has really done a great job of taking the younger kids under his wing,” Jarvis said. “John is one of the highest quality kids I have ever coached, he will be successful as a person and a player. He is truly one of the leaders of our team, and he has earned it.”
Harris possesses excellent footwork and it may be due to the fact that he plays a lot of pickup basketball in his spare time. He took part in AAU basketball as a youth all the way up till his freshman season, when he decided to concentrate on his true love – football.
“I didn’t attend any camps this year. Last year, I went to the Rivals.com Camp and the Nike Opening held at Buford,” Harris said. “As far as college camps, I went to Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, and a Virginia Tech satellite camp held in Atlanta, all last year. This spring has been all about finalizing my decision.”
When asked what he has to say to the Hokie coaches, players, and fans about his recent commitment, his answer well thought out and concise.
“I’m 100% committed to Virginia Tech,” Harris said. “All the coaches from the other colleges recruiting me have reached out and wished me good luck, none have had anything negative to say and they respect my decision. I want to let everyone know that they are getting one of the hardest working guys on the team, and I am excited to be a Hokie. They recruited me simply as an offensive lineman; I have played all the line positions in high school and feel comfortable with all three at the next level.”
The Hokie faithful can see their latest commitment next in action August 19th versus Cobb County (Ga) power McEachern in the MetroPCS Corky Kell Classic. Last year, the Hawks beat McEachern 31-28 in the State Quarterfinals so you can expect this one to be another nail-biter between Georgia heavyweights.