One-on-one with Vernon Harris '16
This week, The Dartmouth had a chance to talk with standout cornerback Vernon Harris ’16. The 6-foot-2-inch Fort Lauderdale, Florida native was recently signed by the Kansas City Chiefs. Harris left school early to participate in the Chiefs’ rookie mini-camp and is now preparing himself for training camp at which he will fight to make the 53-man regular season roster. In total, eight Dartmouth seniors have earned professional opportunities this year.
While at Dartmouth, Harris became the first player in school history to start 40 games in a career and earned two All-Ivy League First Team selections in his time in Hanover. For his career, Harris put up gaudy statistics recording 190 tackles, six interceptions, two forced fumbles and 22 break ups.
When did you find out the Chiefs signed you?
VH: They called me literally two minutes after the draft ended on April 30 — it was a surreal moment for me and my family.
What’s the first thing you did after hearing the news?
VH: My parents were with me so I celebrated with them. They were extremely excited.
What are you up to right now?
VH: Right now I’m in between a rookie mini-camp and regular training camp. Basically I’m just training by myself to get my body and mind ready for that.
What are your goals for this experience?
VH: I guess the key is to take things step-by-step. The first goal is just to make the team and make sure I have the opportunity to prove myself. If I get a chance to show what I can do, I am confident that things will work out.
What facets of Dartmouth have prepared you for this opportunity?
VH: Definitely a combination of both athletics and stuff in the classroom. Football itself is what got me this far, but when you integrate the academic portion that’s when I really learned. This taught me to stay focused even when football may not be the main priority. Dartmouth really just taught me how to manage my time and balance my life.
What do you think it says about the Dartmouth football program that eight guys have earned professional opportunities this year?
VH: It definitely says that that the program keeps getting better and better. Each year we are recruiting more talented guys and it clearly shows in terms of how we are doing on the field and with more guys getting NFL opportunities.
You are an engineering major here at the College, so what are your academic plans for the future?
VH: My plan is to definitely come back and finish up my credits. Any off term possible I can get away from football, I’ll try to come to Hanover. If that isn’t possible then when my football career is over, I’ll be back to finish what I started. It’s a very important part of my life.
Does Dartmouth football have a chance of repeating next year as Ivy League Champions even though the team is losing so much talent to graduation?
VH: Of course, every year you’re going to lose seniors. It’s all about the next group and I feel like we had a lot of depth going into last year. I think a lot of those guys can step up and do a good job and fill a role for the team.
This article has been edited and condense for length and clarity.