Gaston County’s connection to new Super Bowl championship-winning quarterback

By Richard Walker

When the Los Angeles Rams won Sunday’s Super Bowl, it’s a good bet one of their biggest local cheerleaders was one of Cherryville’s greatest all-time athletes.

Cherryville’s Kenneth Harris catches a touchdown pass for Georgia in his first college game in 2005 against Boise State.

Kenneth Harris, a 2004 Cherryville High graduate, was a part of Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford’s receiving corps for three years at the University of Georgia and they even spent time together on the Detroit Lions’ roster in their rookie years of 2009.

A three-sport star at Cherryville in football, basketball and baseball who received interest from scouts in all three, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Harris chose to sign a football scholarship with Georgia and then-Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt in February 2004.

After redshirting in the 2004 season, Harris caught a touchdown pass in his first varsity game in 2005 and finished his career with 41 catches for 689 yards and two touchdowns in 50 games (five starts). In the 2006, 2007 and 2008 seasons, Stafford was Georgia’s primary quarterback.

For much of Harris’ time in Georgia, he was part of a talented stable of Bulldogs’ receivers that included future NFL standouts like former Charlotte Independence star Mohammed Massaquoi and former Summerville, S.C., star A.J. Green.

During Harris’ Bulldogs career, Georgia won the 2005 SEC title and won the 2006 Chick-Fil-A Bowl, 2008 Sugar Bowl and 2009 Capital One Bowl.

Harris was first signed as a free agent by the New Orleans Saints for a 2009 summer camp but was later released.

After being a free agent signee of the Lions who had just made Stafford the No. 1 overall selection of the 2009 NFL Draft, Harris played in one preseason game before suffering an ankle injury and later being released by that organization on Oct. 14, 2009.

At Cherryville, Harris set many receiving records in football, was a 1,244-point scorer in basketball who had 127 career dunks and he hit .328 as a junior in baseball and was an all-conference outfielder.

In football, Harris caught 87 passes for 1,949 yards with 23 touchdowns in his career. He also had a 232-yard receiving night against North Lincoln on Halloween Night of 2003. When Harris’ prep career ended in 2003, he was the county’s all-time leader in receiving yards, touchdowns and single game receiving yardage.

Harris was picked for induction into the 2021 Cherryville Sports Hall of Fame induction class and will be honored in 2022 since he was unable to attend the 2021 ceremony.