Keep Grinding

By Christina Young


With football season coming to an end, we often wonder what players do once they graduate and get off the field.  We had a chance to catch up with 2017 graduate Dana Harris Jr., who was an offensive lineman for the YSU football team.

Harris who is from Detroit, MI lives in Youngstown where he is waiting to relocate to Salina, KS in February to play for the arena football team, Salina Liberty.

“I will be in Salina all of the spring and part of the summer, after that just going to try to get a job in my field of criminal justice, but my ultimate goal is to get picked up by the CFL, NFL or any of the top tier arena football leagues,” Harris said.

Although it is highly competitive to get into higher tier football leagues, Harris is confident that he has a chance.

“Arena football is a good platform to get the film from legit competition for agents and scouts to see,” Harris said. “I give myself two years before I give up the dream of going pro. I am just excited to see myself complete the journey and really reach my main goals of making it to the CFL or NFL.”

Even though Harris has graduated and is excited about his future, he still remissness about his time as a YSU penguin and appreciates what YSU football has taught him.

“[YSU] has taught me a lot about myself and how I can push the limit within myself. With football being like a full-time job and on top of that you have to go to school full time. Life can get a bit hectic and there are times I have wanted to give up, but moments such as us beating Pitt in 2012 kept me going and my teammates and coaches never allowed for me to give up,” Harris said.

Never giving up seems to be an ongoing theme for YSU. Harris leaves his current teammates some words of wisdom.

“Keep grinding and don’t lose focus, because I had that situation happen to me especially when I wasn’t getting playing time,” Harris said. “I thought ‘is this really for me and is there something else out there for me?’ but if you stick to your goals and stick to the process, everything is going to work out. The main thing is to just stay out of trouble. Staying out of trouble eliminates a lot of unfortunate events for you.”

Harris said communication with coaches is essential. If players don’t tell them how they feel, they aren’t able to coach the player in a way they will understand.

“Just believe in yourself and stick to the grind,” Harris said. “Go Guins.”