Wheeler Harris had very few football options after his senior year at Mountain View.
He had a few programs – Adams State, Colorado Pueblo – talking to him. Harris had the big arm needed by quarterbacks, but didn’t show enough accuracy in his two years with the Toros.
It kept the bigger programs from taking much interest in him, but the 6-foot-3, 198-pound Harris remained in contact with one school in particular.
Not South Alabama or North Alabama.
As in The Tide from Tuscaloosa.
Harris, who completed 57 percent of his passes with 15 touchdowns and 1,888 yards as a senior, got a call the day after graduation with an offer to visit and was told he’d be given preferred walk-on status at Alabama.
“He was enrolled and was at summer camp a few weeks later with the players,” his mother, Kyle Cavolo, said. “He’s at a beautiful university and part of a great program. It couldn’t have worked out much better.”
The highlight of the year, of course, was Monday when the Tide won a 26-23 overtime thriller against Georgia in Atlanta.
“It was an incredible game,” said Cavolo, who was in attendance. “The way the Alabama people and fans value football is beyond anything I’ve ever known. It’s like nothing I have ever seen before.”
Harris spent time as the scout quarterback, splitting time with Mac Jones, and helping Alabama’s No. 1 defense prepare for each week’s opponent including Clemson for the Sugar Bowl.
Mountain View coach Mike Fell said it was clear Harris had a great arm and was a good athlete in his one year coaching him after taking over the program, but Harris clearly made strides in his first season with the Alabama coaching staff.
“He’s maturing,” Fell said. “He has worked hard in training.”
Harris, who dressed for most of the games, including the Tide’s two bowl games, has the opportunity to work under arguably the best coach in college football history in Nick Saban, while getting an education at one of the country’s top universities.
“He is a unique kid, and does what he is told do,” his mom said. “He’s playing at Alabama and he’s not going to make a big deal about any of it. He doesn’t do social media. He knows he has a tremendous opportunity and he wants to make the most of it.”
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.