Moe Harris is an absolute beast on the field, and if you talk to those who know him, a great person to emulate off the field.
His commanding impact at Castleton University has left history in the record books – but also in others’ hearts.
Harris, a New Jersey-native, worked hard to accomplish everything he’s achieved. The outstanding back holds 12 Castleton football records, he’s a three-time ECFC all conference player and a two-time Castleton Offensive Player of the Year. He believes his sole purpose is to inspire and motivate others through his actions.
“I’ve been chasing this dream of playing football to show others at Castleton that it’s possible to play football after you graduate or do things that you didn’t think were possible,” Harris said.
For a big part of his life, Harris has always felt he was climbing uphill.
“I was told I wouldn’t be able to do a lot. I was told I wouldn’t play college football. I was told I wouldn’t be good if I did play. I was told I wouldn’t be big, strong, fast or ever grow as an individual but my love for the game helped me persevere,” Harris said. “That’s why Harris worked hard because he never knew who was watching so it was important for him to not give up on what he loves because then somebody may do the same.
Head football coach Tony Volpone vouches for Harris’s influence greatly.
“His approach to the game inspired his teammates. Former captain Tony Martinez gravitated to Moe, instilling a work ethic into Tony that helped propel Tony’s game greatly,” Volpone said.
Now, current Castleton football players view Harris as a big brother. Junior Simon Davis has an appreciation for Harris because of the similarities they share, like coming here as a freshman not knowing what to expect.
“I didn’t see a lot of Black males on campus, so meeting him instantly made me wanna look up to him because I didn’t really grow up with any brothers. So it was easy to look up to somebody who had so much success and to see his positive impact on everybody else other than himself,” Davis said.
When Harris was playing football in Germany, he had intentions of possibly coming back as graduate assistant for the fall of 2021.
“I reached out to Coach West when I was in Germany to see if the GA position was still open, but it wasn’t open so I figured I’d go back to school another time,” Harris said. “But then Coach West reached back out and told me he needed someone ‘so whenever your season’s done you can come back.’ It was unexpected, I didn’t think it would happen this soon but I always knew I’d come back to Castleton, but I just didn’t know when,” Harris said.
Harris always saw himself coming back and giving back to the place he felt got the most out of him.
Castleton University impacted Harris’s life on and off the field. It gave him an opportunity, transferring from community college, to pursue his football career and receive his bachelor’s degree in exercise science. Harris saw action on the field much of his freshman year, and his teammates around him were ecstatic about the player they had going forward.
“I was blessed to start as a freshman with a great group of guys that pushed me every day to be better because they saw the potential in me. I trained all day every day in light of what they saw in me, which drove me to become obsessed with being great,” said Harris.
Coaches Gordon Brown and Tyler Higley were two teammates of Harris who got an opportunity to see Harris progress throughout his collegiate career.
“He was humble, steady, reliable and a leader by example not with his words but by his actions. His work ethic put him in a different category in terms of his athletic ability,” Brown said.
“Moe Harris was very internally motivated within himself, laid back but came out of his shell when he wanted, on his own terms,” Higley said.
The community Castleton has given Harris a unique bond that in his eyes can never be broken. Games were always packed every Saturday during Harris’ career here, but one individual brought a smile to Harris’s face after every home game. This kid would drive from Connecticut to every Castleton football home game.
His name is Jimmy Leffingwell and he became Harris’ biggest fan.
“His mom would write me letters of encouragement before games and we still communicate till this day,” said Harris.
Their connection was so deep that even after football season, Jimmy would come up and spend time with Harris on the weekends playing basketball.
“Our connection was a lot deeper than football. Jimmy eventually changed his basketball number to 24, which was super dope. We have tons of pictures together and he also made a t-shirt jersey for the both of us,” said Harris.
The community definitely had a tremendous impact on Harris because he said he’d never experienced a lot of support from the community back in his high school days at Overbrook Regional High School.
“Coming here and to be loved then and still now means a lot to me, walking around and people acknowledging you is cool,” said Harris.
As Harris continues to further his career overseas playing for the Solingen Paladins, he’s also gotten an opportunity to see the world from a different light.
“Traveling throughout different parts of Germany has been cool because it’s given me a chance to see things that I didn’t imagine I’d get an opportunity to see,” said Harris. “Playing football after college in Germany has been fun,” Harris said. He said the culture and environment is a lot different, but at the end of the day it’s football.
Harris has been super motivated with the reward of being paid for his play now.
“Every game, every practice is crucial because football is my money maker,” said Harris. The responsibility of playing football has now placed emphasis on his body incredibly.
“My offseason is now different because my body is my temple. I’ve gotta make sure my body is recovering, my lifts are on point and training is spot on. My routine now has dramatically changed as opposed to college,” said Harris.
Harris plans on continuing his career with the Solingen Paladins this May. His intentions are to follow up on an impactful season he had last season, racking up 1,554 all-purpose yards and 11 total touchdowns in 10 games. His excitement to get back and play this season overseas is huge because he said it’s truly been a blessing for him to get another shot at playing football.