All the sacrifice, all the hard work, all the adversity — Brontae Harris knew it’d pay off.
And, on Sunday, it did.
The 2015 Cullman graduate and former UAB standout signed with the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted free agent and will have a chance to compete for a coveted spot on the team’s 53-man roster ahead of the upcoming NFL season.
The defensive back’s first stop on that journey is rookie minicamp, which opens later this month.
“First thing’s first – I’ve got to thank God,” Harris said. “It’s been a long weekend and a long few days. I did a lot of praying, and He brought me through it. After I got the call, I called my parents next. They were stressed and worried about me. They know how important this is to me. Getting through the weekend and finally getting that call – it’s mind-blowing and a dream come true.
“You wait on this chance ever since you first pick up a football. I still don’t believe it’s real, but I’m trying to enjoy the moment. Receiving this opportunity is a blessing, and I couldn’t be more thankful or humbled by it.”
Although Harris was somewhat disappointed not to get drafted, the 24-year-old said his maturation over the past couple of years helped with the process. He also knew a franchise would take a flyer on him, giving the Cullman native an opportunity to showcase his abilities.
“I’ve matured a lot, and I understand the business side of it because of my injury (in 2019),” Harris said. “I know that plays a big role. I wanted to get drafted, but I also just wanted a chance to show someone I could overcome that injury. This is a blessing, and I was confident I’d get a chance. I knew I put some great stuff on film. And knowing that I performed well against great competition, I knew I’d get a call. I knew someone would take a chance on me, and I’m grateful for that.”
Harris began his career at UAB as a walk-on before earning a scholarship in 2017.
In three seasons with the Blazers — he missed his redshirt junior campaign with a foot injury — Harris tallied 78 tackles (seven for loss), 20 pass breakups, four interceptions (one pick-six) and two sacks in 25 contests. He also garnered All-Conference USA accolades in 2018 (honorable mention) and 2020 (second team) following fine seasons in which UAB won conference titles.
He was also a Bulsworth Trophy nominee in 2020. The prestigious award is presented annually to college football’s most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on. In addition to that, he made the Jim Thorpe Award (2019, 2020) and Comeback Player of the Year (2020) preseason watch list.
Harris put together a superb prep career on the gridiron, claiming All-County (2012-14), All-Area (2013-15) and All-State (2014-15) honors during his two-stop tenure at Hanceville and Cullman.
Now, as he attempts to reach the pinnacle of his sport, Harris wants those who aspire to reach their dreams to follow in his footsteps and never give up the fight.
“First thing’s first – you’ve got to trust God,” he said. “If you build a relationship with God, He’ll come through for you. You might go through some trials and tribulations, but He’ll come through for you every time. Aside from that, figure out what you want to do and chase after it and build a plan and be disciplined. There’s going to be days you don’t want to do it, but you have to do it to get where you want to be. And lastly, believe in yourself. I had so many people tell me ‘I couldn’t do this’ and ‘I couldn’t do that.’ It won’t be easy, but if you believe in yourself and believe in God, it’ll all work out.”