Before Brandon Harris signed his four-year contract with the Texans, he autographed a separate piece of paper for his mother.
This paper had terms and conditions, too. Some Harris understood to be non-negotiable.
"My mom was a little nervous when I told her I was thinking about coming out (of college) early (for the NFL draft)," Harris said. "It sunk in finally, but she told me I had to promise her a few things."
The terms he agreed to are simple: Harris must complete his college education at the University of Miami and earn a degree. The conditions in which Harris must fulfill his contractual obligations, though, are more complex.
The second-round pick, who is pursuing a bachelor's degree in business, has to complete his coursework during the offseason following his rookie year in the NFL. And if he doesn't, Harris said he can expect to be in a ton of trouble.
"I don't even want to find out what happens if I don't," Harris said, laughing. "I'm not planning to."Class in session
For now, class is still in session for the young cornerback.
"There's a lot of studying involved," Harris said. "Coach Wade (Phillips) has been putting a lot of different things in every night. There's so many different plays and different calls. Sometimes it can get overwhelming but you have to keep working and learn how to break everything down."
Because of the amount of information he has to process, Harris spends a good portion of his time after practice studying the playbook, film and defensive concepts.
He's not alone. Johnathan Joseph, Roc Carmichael and other younger cornerbacks work with each other sharing tips that further expedite the learning process.
"We communicate with each other all the time," Joseph said. "It's not like we are pulling one way or the other. This is a tight unit and everyone helps each other any way that they can."
The suggestions have worked. Harris is defending much better and breaking up passes on a consistent basis after a rocky first week of camp.
"Some days have been better than others," Harris said. "Some days you make a mistake and get frustrated because you want to play well. You just have to sit back and watch some of those veterans and then go back out there the next day and show that you belong here."High football I.Q.
He's performed in practice like he belongs — garnering attention and the praise of cornerbacks coach Vance Joseph - and put himself in position to get playing time this season.
"He's showed that he has a high football I.Q. and good instincts on the field lately," Vance Joseph said. "He's above his time and plays like a veteran so that inside nickel spot is going to be his."
Vance Joseph and the Texans staff aren't the only people that see the potential in Harris. A former NFL player voiced his opinion not too long ago as well. During the NFL combine, Hall of Fame Cornerback Deion Sanders publicly stated that Harris was the best cornerback he had seen there.
Harris said the endorsement gave him a huge boost of confidence and serves as motivation for him to become a great player in the NFL.
"It was a huge compliment," he said. "It makes me want to go out and continue to work hard to live up to those standards."