Published Friday, January 31, 2014 AT 10:48 AM / Updated at 10:50 AM
Recruiting: Three-sport star Harrison still captivating those who know him best
Jon Nyatawa Omaha World-Herald

The defensive line coach at Lee’s Summit West, sitting on the bleachers just after a basketball game ended Tuesday night, is trying to explain THE catch.

Most anyone who discusses Monte Harrison’s football talents mentions this.

So coach Limbo Parks starts refreshing the images in his mind.

You see, there was this lob ball … and the cornerback had position … but Harrison jumped … Parks trails off.

Then he has an idea. He looks out on the court and yells toward a few high schoolers gathering around the free-throw line.

“Hey! Your phone work in here?”

A kid nods his head, walks over and pulls his cell out of his pocket. He’s told to open his Hudl application. Go to the Kickapoo game. Toward the end.

“Monte’s catch.”

Naturally, the student knows what play Parks is talking about. Probably knew at the exact moment when he realized Parks was bringing him over to pull up game film.

Practically everyone around Lee’s Summit West has seen it — or at least heard about the time when Harrison jumped over an all-region defender, reached around the guy’s head and pulled an under-thrown ball out of the opponent’s hands. All in the same motion, Harrison secured the football, and then stretched it over the goal-line for a touchdown.

(It’s at the 5:30 mark of the highlight package below)

We’ll have more on Harrison in Sunday’s World-Herald. Make sure you check out that story!

Harrison’s a superstar at Lee’s Summit West, just outside of Kansas City. And next week, the four-star football recruit plans on signing a letter of intent to play football at Nebraska. He’d play baseball for the Huskers, too — so long as he doesn’t turn pro after getting selected in this summer’s MLB draft (Baseball America ranks him as the 22nd-best prospect and MLB.com has him 32nd).

Those close to Harrison say he’s not thinking about that now, though.

The future can wait. He’s too busy enjoying his senior year, packing his free time with workouts, skills training sessions and practices for the three major sports he excels at — just like he’s done his whole life.

It was basketball for Harrison on Tuesday. He was at his best with three NU assistant coaches in attendance, showing off his athleticism in such a way that left even the elite talent evaluators speechless.

Here’s how the game against Truman High School began: Harrison gathered himself at the top of the key, drove left and laid in the first basket. He returned to the other end and took advantage of an unsuspecting guard on the perimeter, knocking the ball away and capping the break with a strong two-hand dunk. Then he skied for a defensive board and fired an outlet pass 60 feet downcourt to hit a sprinting teammate for two more points.

There was also a particular two-hand put-back in the first quarter by Harrison, who appeared to tilt his head just slightly to the side while soaring toward the hoop — because he was reaching for the cylinder and his eyes were level with the top of the net. Harrison was at a full sprint when he went airborne, too, and his legs whipped from one end of the backboard to the other as his fingers wrapped around the rim. (See more Harrison dunks here).

That ignited the home crowd. Fans jumped out of their seats. Rich Fisher, Ron Brown and John Garrison all saw it. Didn’t say a word, either. They just looked at each other, their silence affirming what they already knew: This 6-foot-2, 205-pound stud — who they hope is part of the football program this fall — is indeed an extraordinarily gifted specimen.

About Jon Nyatawa

Jon Nyatawa has covered local sports, primarily Nebraska football, for The Omaha World-Herald since 2008. He and his laptop, cell phone, tape recorder, pen and notebook all live in Lincoln. Follow him on Twitter: @JonNyatawa. Email him here: jon.nyatawa@owh.com. He welcomes feedback.