When Jordan Scarlett was in eighth grade, it was almost as if the middle-school running back was already a prospect. He was a free-agent, of sorts, when it came to picking a high school, but once he met Roger Harriott, it was mostly a done deal.
Now Harriott will reap the benefits of having had such a positive influence on one of the most talented junior running backs in the country and FAU will be the ultimate beneficiary of the talents of both.
When FAU announced Friday that new Owls head coach Charlie Partridge had hired Fort Lauderdale University School head coach Harriott as assistant coach/running backs coach, Scarlett also committed to following his current head coach to the next level.
Scarlett, who has more than 20 FBS scholarship offers, picked the Owls over the state’s big three schools Florida State, Miami and Florida, as well as offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State and UCLA just to name some of the top suitors.
For Scarlett, however, his decision was an easy one.
“It kinda just came about when he officially got the job offer to FAU and we were just sitting back talking about old times,” Scarlett said. “I made my decision that I wanted to continue with him being my head coach and my role model.”
Harriott has been a big influence on the lives of numerous young men who have played at the USchool over the past few years. The school, which is on the campus of Nova Southeastern University, will apparently, according to Scarlett, discontinue its football program, leaving the door open for Harriott to move on.
Also moving on will be the USchool players, and Scarlett will be looking to transfer to either St. Thomas Aquinas or Plantation American Heritage. He said USchool teammates like sophomore receiver Sam Bruce and juniors linebacker Rashard Causey and defensive tackle Brandon Boyce have already decided to transfer to St. Thomas.
It comes as a huge relief for Scarlett to already know where he’s headed for college and who will be his position coach and continuing mentor.
“It’s very important because he’s shown me things in life that I have learned and have helped me,” Scarlett said. “I figure he will do that as my college coach and it’s a great opportunity for me to stay home, which I’ve always wanted to do.”
Scarlett ran for 932 yards on 120 carries this past season, scoring 14 touchdowns in 10 games. He averaged 7.7 yards per carry.
Back when he was in middle school, Scarlett could have picked any number of other private schools in the Broward/Palm county areas, but it was the way Harriott ran his program that impressed Scarlett and his mother.
“Once I got in contact with him and he got in contact with my mom we got to talk and built a relationship,” Scarlett said of his original meetings with Harriott in the summer of 2011. “That’s when I made the decision that [USchool] was where I wanted to go.
“I’m blessed with where I am right now as far as being a player and a person.”
Scarlett said he’s already heard the chatter about how he won’t be committed to FAU for the long haul, but he vows to be signing on that dotted line for FAU come Feb. 4, 2014, National Signing Day.
“Yeah people are saying it won’t last too long, but I just don’t think that I’m that type of guy,” Scarlett said. “My commitment is pretty strong and I don’t think that’s going to change.”
And it certainly makes mom happy.
“Oh yes, she’s very happy,” Scarlett said. “I get to stay right up the street in Boca and she gets to come to all my games.”
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting, Instagram at os_recruiting and on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.