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GAMEDAY FEATURE: Tim Harris: Finding Joy in Football and Fishing

Sept. 2, 2017

by Lauren Moses

This football season senior, Tim Harris’ last go-round as a Cavalier. He plans to go out with a bang, while accomplishing his individual and team goals.

“Individually, I want to be first-team All-ACC,” Harris said. “But my biggest goal for the team is to go to a bowl game.”

Harris, who was raised in Richmond, Va., began playing football as a six-year-old and fell in love with it. As a kid he found himself sitting on the sideline a lot because he was not as skilled or as fast as some of the other players, yet.

“When I got older I started playing more,” Harris said. “I got more playing time after I started watching a lot of NFL players, especially my favorite player, Sean Taylor, when he used to play with the Redskins, and I tried to do exactly what they were doing out there on the field.”

Harris did not realize his potential when he first started playing. It was not until he was entering his freshman year of high school, when he began to take football more seriously. After attending a few football camps, and receiving positive and constructive criticism about his skills as a football player, he realized he was able to compete with the best in his state, as well as, at the Division I level.  

All throughout high school, Harris looked at football in a different light, as a way to earn a free education and a platform that gives him an opportunity to play in the NFL. He remained focused by working on getting bigger, stronger and faster, a lot more than he ever did before.

Upon, Harris’ arrival to UVA, he was ready for the level of competition and workouts. Anthony Harris, a UVA alum and a current player for the Baltimore Ravens, was Harris’ mentor during his freshman year.


 

 

“He helped me stay updated with what I need to be working on while I was at home, before I even got to school,” Harris said. “He was a good role model for me and I still talk to him to this day. He continues to be a mentor by talking to me and sharing great advice about what it takes to get to the next level.

As Harris enters his senior season as a Cavalier, he sees a bright future for his team. He describes himself as a quiet leader, who would prefer to lead by example on and off the field However, from a team standpoint, he believes the team is a lot more dedicated to do what it takes to make it to a bowl game.

“This off season, I noticed a lot of guys going back out onto the field after practice to get more reps in or work on their weaknesses,” Harris said. “But, not by their self, they do it together as a unit. I truly believe that will help us in the long run.”

Throughout his college experience, Harris has gained a therapeutic relationship with the game of football. He finds that whenever he is on the field, nothing else matters. However, football is not the only thing that Harris resorts to in stressful times. He also enjoys fishing.

“I’ve been fishing since I was a kid, around the age of 13,” Harris said. “My uncle (Bobby West) took me one time and I haven't stopped going since. Sometimes I just like to go out to the pond, lake, or river, just to fish because that’s relaxing to me.”

While being in Charlottesville, he has gone to nearby ponds, lakes, and rivers and usually catches bass and catfish.

Similarly to his experience as a football player, fishing is like his happy place.

“It isn’t necessarily all about catching fish because when I go out there I can think about stuff that I can’t think about in the locker room or on the football field. Rarely do I go by myself. Most of the time I’m with my dad (Tim Harris Sr.) when I’m home or with other family members.”

It is obvious that Harris is a very relaxed, laid back person. However, on the field he is determined to not allow anyone to outwork him. After a season-ending injury, just after the second game last season, he is more focused than ever with his goals in mind.

“I’m just focused on playing stress-free and leading my team to the best of my ability,” Harris said. “I’m healthy right now and I’m going to continue to play as best as I can.”

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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.

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