He sits happily in the community advisor’s chair of Ellis Hall doing his homework and quietly munching on his favorite snacks from Fireside Café: chicken fingers and French fries with three small cups of ketchup.
He appears to be just an average Castleton University student.
Then two random students who live in Ellis Hall come up and give him hugs and high fives. The energy is infectious as their moods change a whole 180 degrees after embracing their favorite person on campus.
This is the effect Moses Harris has on the people in his life.
“Moses is one of the most compassionate and respectful people I have ever met,” said KC Ambrose, a CA and one of Harris’ best friends. “No matter what mood you are in, you can count on him to change that.”
Before he became “the guy” on the CU campus, Harris was enrolled at Camden County Community College in his native state of New Jersey. He was looking for an opportunity, for someone to take a chance on him and see what he can bring to a football program
For Harris, it was the culture that drew him to Castleton University, and the football program in general.
“I met coach Alberque at a camp in North Jersey, and we got to talking. Then I came up here for a visit and I met a couple of guys who are now coaches, coach (Tyler) Higley and Jay-Mo (Jay Morgan),” Harris said. “I’ll give it a chance.”
Little did the small college know what kind of individual they were bringing in.
In preseason camp of his freshman year, one play in particular jumped out to head coach Tony Volpone. It was a kick return.
“You saw from the film as we watched it from afar, that this kid’s got some attributes that others don’t,” Volpone said.
Mental and physical toughness.
And this was only a glimpse at the future that Harris would have in the 343 Green jersey.
The record holder in almost every rushing category in Castleton football history would earn his first rushing touchdown in a game at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island.
“Forty-two-yard touchdown. I still remember what cleats I had on. I had my white Under Armour cleats on that I bought that summer. I had a white three-quarter shirt on underneath my pads,” said Harris, as his eyes grow with excitement. “I don’t remember what the play was, but I remember I shuffle-dragged left, and cut back right, and the rest is history,” Harris said.
Reverse those two numbers, and you get the magic number 24 that makes Harris stand out from everyone else on the football field.
When asked on why he chose the number, Harris smiled and said, “I knew it was coming!”
“There’s 24 hours in a day. You gotta get after it. How are you gonna use your 24?” Harris said.
In those 24 hours of every day, Harris embraces a slogan he created.
“I came up with that one morning when I was in the gym. It was like 3 a.m. I was talking to my boy and said “man we’ve been doing this for so long, we gotta phrase it!”” Harris said. “We’ve been grinding, we’ve been hustling for so long… I said to myself everything takes time. Good things come to those who wait.”
This idea would be frequently used on Twitter by himself, friends and followers to describe that results won’t come right away. You have to work for it.
“You move too fast, you might miss an opportunity,” Harris said. “I know Isaiah Thomas got something like that, that slow grind. Mine was out before his, but I ain’t gonna say nothing about it!” said Harris chuckling.
When asked how it feels to be considered the greatest to ever put on a Castleton football jersey, he pushed that away.
“Whoever said that is lying,” he said with a huge smile. “Hard work and work ethic, it’s important. Gotta grind when nobody is watching.”
Senior Quarterback Mitchell Caron loves Harris.
“He’s my brother. He’s always had my back, and I always have for him,” said Caron, a double major in Exercise Science and Health Science. “He’s a quiet guy but once you get to know him, he’s just one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.”
But being vocal is something that Volpone said he would have liked to see more out of Harris, but he then realizes that would be changing his personality.
“That was something that we often times talked about,” Volpone said. “It goes back to asking him to be something that he’s not.”
However, friends say Harris may not be a vocal leader, but he will be there for those he trusts in their toughest times.
Mikayla Sullivan, a junior nursing major, credits Harris for helping her through a tough transition in her freshman year.
“I was really going down the wrong path, and he helped me,” Sullivan said. “He shaped me into becoming a better person.”
Sullivan says that Harris preaches three things more than anything.
“Pure passion, dedication and perseverance,” she said, adding that these three things create a lasting impact on others.
Eleven-year-old Jimmy Fain from Ledyard, Connecticut became enamored with the 6’1” 212 pound running back from Pine Hill, New Jersey. Jimmy would beg his mother Marie to go to the games at Spartan Stadium to see his favorite athlete do his thing.
After countless times pleading, Jimmy convinced his mother to message Harris through Facebook.
Harris responded to Marie by saying “I’ll try to have a good day.” After soaking in the message, Harris said he got emotional.
“I teared up when I read the message because this is a kid that could look up to anybody in the world. His mom could message anybody in the world. And she messaged me on Facebook, and told me that her son looked up to me,” said Harris.
After recording 1,000 yards on the season in that game, Harris was rewarded with more than MVP recognition.
Jimmy presented a homemade t-shirt jersey to him, modeled after his Castleton jersey.
Humbled, he signed the jersey and gave it back to Jimmy to keep.
Later on, Marie sent a picture of Jimmy to him, this time in a basketball jersey. He had changed his number to 24 for his favorite player.
When asked on how that made him feel, Harris said “I can’t even describe it. It’s crazy to see how other people view me.”
After what seemed to be the end of the interview, Harris looked down at the sheet of numbered questions and said “Maaaaannnn you can’t end on 23! Gotta do one more!”
So, when asked about his source of his motivation, Harris quickly mentioned his father.
“It was economically tough growing up. Still is,” he said. “No matter what we were going through… he always put his best foot forward” he said.
He ended the chat saying that his father still tells him to “strive to be better than me.”
“Started with nothing, stopping for nothing,” Harris said.