Davontae Harris defies injury to become NFL Draft prospect

Published: Apr. 26, 2018 at 6:28 PM CDT
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Kristy Baker took Davontae Harris into her home during his freshman year of high school. He calls her his mother even though she's not biologically related.

Baker fights back tears describing his football career.

"When the doctors had told us, if he had stayed at home that night, he could have died," Baker said. "It was a career, life-altering injury."

Scars on his stomach still remain from that injury. It happened during the second game of his senior year at Wichita South.

"I was running across the field," Harris said. "Make a tackle, hit the guy. His cleat him my stomach."

Initially, Harris didn't think the damage was severe, but as the night progressed, he realized it was something serious.

"They take him to the hospital and in the middle of the night, they tell him they were taking him into emergency surgery, because he had busted his intestine in two places," Baker said.

After the surgery, Harris thought football was a part of his past, not his future.

"For the longest time, I didn't know if I'd ever be able to play football again."

College scouts, who had once considered him a top recruit, were few and far between.

"Right before the injury he had gotten lots of letters from schools very close like Kansas State, ku, close schools. And then, after the injury, they all dropped off, except Illinois State," Baker said.

The Redbirds stuck by his side and were rewarded with an all-conference, second-team All-American defensive back.

"The program that I came from is all about toughness. Doin the right thing and controlling what you can control," Harris said. "Having to be tough a lot of the adversity. Everything that I learned at ISU has carried over throughout this part of my process."

The process has carried the Wichita South product to the NFL Combine, where he dazzled the NFL scouts with blazing speed. Now, he's on the verge of becoming the first Wichita-native NFL draftee since 2013 and the sport that once killed him, has given him new life.