Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Student Athlete of the Week: Ajene Harris
By Amanda Scurlock, Sports Writer
Published September 28, 2017

Junior cornerback Ajene Harris is a communications major (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

This resilient student athlete knows the impact that communication and hard work has on a team. USC cornerback Ajene Harris has been contributing to the Trojan defense after battling with injuries in his early years in college.

“We all need to be on the same page,” Harris said. “Communication is key for our defense.”

To assist the Trojans with their undefeated 4-0 record, Harris has 14 total tackles, with 1.0 tackles for loss for four yards. He also registered one sack for four yards. In the Trojans 30-20 win over the California Golden Bears, Harris gained 13 yards as a punt returner.


During the 2016 season, Harris registered 30 tackles, four deflections, two interceptions and one touchdown. In both of his interceptions, he returned the ball 33 yards. He started in four games, including the Notre Dame and Rose Bowl games. Against the Irish, Harris earned his first touchdown as a Trojan.

The 2017 Rose Bowl was a highlight for Harris, who registered three tackles in the matchup.

“We could see it in everybody’s eyes that we [were] just gonna continue to fight and whatever happens happens,” he said. “We just came out victorious.”

Harris is a communications major, noting a public speaking class as being his favorite course.

“[I] work on my public speaking skills and then get evaluations from the teacher and then also the class,” he said. “You don’t have to do too many papers, just preparing for a speech.”

Southern California defensive back Ajene Harris (27) runs with the ball during an NCAA college football game against Western Michigan on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, in Los Angeles. USC won 49-31. (Peter Read Miller via AP)

He saw action in five games during his freshman year as a wide receiver, making four catches for 38 yards. Harris made his first career start against Oregon State in 2014. A hamstring injury would force him to the sidelines for three games.

Surgery on his hips would make Harris miss the entire 2015 season. Not being able to participate in practices and games was a challenge.


“My sophomore year was just a down year,” Harris said. “It was just all school and just going to meetings, no participation with the team.”

Harris put up an astral resume as a Crenshaw Cougar. During his sophomore season, Harris executed 10 fumble recoveries and 44 tackles. He also played quarterback with 42 throws for 874 yards and six touchdowns. As a running back, Harris made 48 carries for 640 yards.

Crenshaw football head coach Robert Garrett taught him that a strong work ethic can extend a players’ career on field.

“[The] best advice from him is just continue to work,” Harris said. “That’s what I do everyday is come here and work hard and just try to earn everything that I really want.”

Categories: Education | Football | Sports
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