Harrison has developed into true QB for SMSH

Tanner Harrison

ST. MARTINVILLE — After cracking the starting lineup as a freshman receiver, Tanner Harrison was looking forward to catching a lot of passes the next three years at St. Martinville Senior High.

When the projected starter the following year suffered an injury, however, Harrison reluctantly moved to quarterback. It wasn’t something that made him happy.

“No, I didn’t like that at all,” said Harrison, now a senior. “I had never played quarterback before. I wasn’t comfortable. I had never gone under center nor really thrown the ball. I was really shocked, but eventually I realized that the ball would be in my hands every play.”

As a sophomore, Harrison helped the Tigers to a Class 3A first round playoff appearance as a No. 21 seed. Last year, he led SMSH to a quarterfinals appearance as a No. 10 seed. This season, the No. 3 Tigers are 9-2 heading into Friday’s second-round playoff game at No. 19 Iota.

“There was a little pushback when we first moved him to quarterback, but I think once he saw that the ball would be in his hands every down, that took over,” said SMSH coach Vincent DeRouen, who explained Harrison’s progress under center.

“He’s a quarterback now. Before, he was an athlete playing quarterback. He understands the game. It has slowed down for him. He is a real weapon running the ball, and he’s throwing the ball well, also.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder has passed for 1,143 yards and rushed for 1,106 yards with 31 TDs. He’s completed 60 percent of his passes with only six interceptions and is averaging 10.6 yards per carry.

Last week, he rushed for a season high 181 yards on 10 carries with three TDs in a 47-6 rout of No. 30 McDonogh #35. In a three-game stretch towards the end of the regular season, Harrison completed 20 of 25 passes for 542 yards and nine TDs.

Anyone who has watched a Vince DeRouen-led team knows that the veteran coach believes in establishing the ground game. DeRouen said his star quarterback isn’t shy about suggesting that the Tigers air it out, however.

“Tanner always comes with something,” DeRouen laughed. “He’s highly confident. No matter what it is, he thinks he can make the play, even if it’s third and 50.

“He’s a true leader. He’ll communicate with the guys and tell them what he wants, and he’s always been a leader by example. He’s going to do all the right things and be where he’s supposed to be. He’s going to be on time. He’s going to put in the work. He’s been that way.”

While Southern University is evaluating Harrison, no college program has extended a scholarship offer, which baffles DeRouen.

“I still don’t understand the recruiting game,” the SMSH coach said. “This one is puzzling to me. When you turn on the film, he’s going to jump out at you. We even have some plays where we put him at receiver, and he makes some dynamite plays there. I just don’t understand it.”

Harrison hopes to play on the next level, but first things first.

“It’s always been our dream to win a state championship and get our fingers sized for a ring,” he said.

Load comments