/ FACES Magazine August 2016
After an incredibly successful first season, the Ottawa REDBLACKS are back, and in a big way. Earlier in the season, the REDBLACKS witnessed their starting quarterback, Henry Burris, come across an injury that took him out for 7 games. Like any team in this situation, they had to then rely on their backup quarterback, Trevor Harris. Luckily for the REDBLACKS, Trevor has already made a name for himself.
Trevor has had an incredible season so far, having achieved a 3-0-1 record thus far into mid July. The 30-year-old Ohio native has given hope to the REDBLACKS, as well as to the fans. Furthermore, Trevor continues to lead the league in passing yards, passing touchdowns, and completion percentage. We think it is safe to say that the REDBLACKS are certainly headed in the right direction.
FACES MAGAZINE had a chance to speak with the rising start quarterback to discuss his thoughts on becoming a REDBLACK this year, what it’s been like stepping into the spotlight and what he sees for the REDBLACKS in the near future.
You were born in the small town of Waldo, Ohio, with a population of less than 500 people. What was it like growing up there, and what was the best thing about it?
The best thing about it was just that everybody knew everybody and you never had to worry about traffic. (Laughs) I’m not a big traffic guy. I got used to the “no stop lights” and having your own space living out in the country and all that kind of stuff. I was really thankful for my time in Waldo and I love going back there.
When did you realize that playing professional football was a realistic goal for you? Were you always a quarterback, or did you play other positions in sports growing up?
My dad didn’t want me to play quarterback when I was nine, so I played running back and safety. Then when I was ten, I was asked to play quarterback. I told my dad, and he looked disappointed — he kind of looked at being a quarterback as being a wimp. He made me promise to never slide and to never lie on the field when I was a little kid — that was the tradeoff for him to let me play quarterback. So I started to enjoy it and kind of relish in the leadership role of being a quarterback, and to take command of a huddle. I actually didn’t like football all the way through high school until about my sophomore year, and then I ended up falling in love with the game. I didn’t think pro football was ever a realistic goal until going into my senior year, when my coach called me and said,“The Eagles from Philly are here to see you.” I thought he was joking, and I replied, “Coach, I’ll talk to you later, I’ve got some stuff to do.” He said, “No Trevor, seriously, the Philadelphia Eagles are here to see you,” and I was like, “Oh wow, really?” At that point I thought to myself that maybe it was a realistic goal to end up playing. So I just tried to stay the course for my college career and it ended up working out. God provided me with the opportunities that I’ve had.
Did you have a favourite team or player growing up, and if so, what was it about that player that made you look up to them?
I was such a Bengals fan growing up. I remember when I was a kid, I would dance on the couch whenever Jeff Blake would throw it deep to Carl Pickens. I just loved watching him throw that deep ball and I couldn’t understand why they didn’t do it more. I was 8 years old then, and now I understand why they couldn’t, but back then I had a great time rooting for them.
You were a two-time finalist for the Harlon Hill Award of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, which is equivalent to the Division II Heisman Trophy, during your time as a quarterback at Edinboro University. What was your college experience like for you with all of that?
My college experience was outstanding. I was really grateful to have such amazing coaches and players around me who enabled me to have that success. That’s why I always tell people quarterbacks get too much credit. I did throughout my college career, because the coaches around me put me in great situations and taught me so well. They taught me the game from ground zero, and the players around me made it easy to have success. They were very supportive in doing everything that catered to our strengths, and I was just happy to be one cog in the engine.
What was it like for you the first time you stepped onto a Canadian Football League practice field? Was it an easy transition to understand the Canadian game, or did it take some time to adjust to the different rules and field size?
It was very difficult. I was like, “Man, what is this twelfth guy going to do?” I tried doing some research before I came up but I couldn’t find too much. Actually, into the first reshooting game after second down, we did our first down on one of the possessions in the game and I heard the coach say,“Punt it!” I was like,“What are we punting on?” But then I remembered that that was right, since at the third down we punt. It took me a while to get used to that. The field being wider is a big advantage since it gives more real estate for the defense to cover. It’s just such a great game, and really, football was in Canada first, so it’s an honour to be up here and to be playing a game even older than American football.
What’s the season been like for you so far, as a member of the Ottawa REDBLACKS? How are you enjoying being in the city so far?
I love it. The fans are amazing, the area is amazing, and there’s much less traffic in Ottawa than there is in Toronto. The guys have been incredible and faced me with open arms, so I’m just happy to be a part the family here. Our quarterback room is a great room. There’s just very positive vibes and we have great leadership all around.
Speaking of Toronto, what did it feel like to lead the REDBLACKS over your former team, the Toronto Argonauts, this week? Was it just like any other game, or was there extra excitement or pressure lining up against your former teammates?
I’d being lying if I said there wasn’t extra pressure or that it felt much better. But at the end of the day, it’s twelve-on-twelve. I’m very grateful for my time in Toronto, and I’m very blessed for what they’ve done for me in my career — giving me a shot to play here and allowing me to prove myself. But at the same time, they’ve moved on and I’ve moved on, and I’m just happy to be in such a great place like Ottawa.
What’s your favourite thing about living in Ottawa so far?
That my wife’s up here with me. It’s great that I get to have my wife with me everyday, and she makes for a great roommate up here. Other than that, it’s definitely the team and the fans. The fans are completely behind us and it’s really a great feeling to have.
Who controls the locker and music rooms before you guys take the field, and what sort of music do the boys like to listen to before the game?
We have days of the week. Sometimes we get ‘White Guy Wednesday’ going, but most of the time it’s the cornerbacks and the linebackers who control the music. Sometimes it’s the O-line, but I’m more of a country and gospel music kind of guy.
Who are some of your favourite artists, and what’s the best con- cert you’ve ever been to?
I’m actually a big fan of Sam Hunt, his music’s really cool and it’s kind of chill. I also listen to a lot of United Pursuit, they’re a great gospel music band. Actually, Swayze Waters, my roommate for the last four years in Toronto, was roommates with Sam Hunt for four years in college. We heard Sam’s music long before it actually came out. Back then we thought, ‘Wow, this guy’s great’. Then he started blowing up and turned into the huge star that he is now.
If you weren’t playing football, what would be your dream career or job, and what do you see yourself doing after your career is over?
I always grew up wanting to be a sports anchor—to be able to talk about sports on TV or maybe a sports debate. Then, I went to college to be a teacher. But honestly, my heart is in ministry of youth, and mentoring young men, so I would say football coaching would be in my future after playing.
Is there any advice that you have for young aspiring athletes that you wish you would’ve been told when you were growing up?
The main thing that I would tell young athletes nowadays is to listen to your parents and listen
to your loved ones. Even though sometimes you want to roll your eyes at your mom and dad, they’re telling you things because they love you and they understand what’s best for you. I think a lot of times that we don’t listen to our parents and those who are guiding and helping us are the times that we can veer off course from what our goals really are. Our parents and loved ones are the ones who really truly know what we want in the end, and they’re just trying to help us the most.
Who are some of the guys who really made you feel welcome as soon as you joined the Ottawa REDBLACKS?
The first time I came in, I met Henry. The guy that you all see, the smiling guy that everyone sees as Henry, that’s the guy he is. He was really the guy that I was worried about, with everybody saying ‘Trevor came in, and Henry’s here’, but he welcomed me with open arms. I’ve been able to learn a lot from him just from watching him. The quarterback room has embraced me, and it would be hard to single out just one person. All of the guys have embraced me so well and given me nicknames and all that kind of stuff, so I’m just glad to be a part of the process here. The equipment guys are awesome as well.
What are some of your favourite restaurants and places to go in Ottawa?
I haven’t really gotten out too much to eat in Ottawa, I’ve been trying to eat at home with my wife more, but we’re big sushi people so we like to go out for sushi. We’ve been to Real Sports a few times — they have really great food and great burgers as well. We’ll start exploring more eventually. I actually had my first beavertail the other day, too! It was phenomenal.
When your football career has ended, how would you like your fans and teammates to remember you?
I just want to be known as a guy who had great integrity. People forget the highlights, the throws, the touchdowns, the wins, and the losses. They forget all of that stuff, but who you are as a person really remains. I like to tell people, “No one’s going to remember what you say or do, but they are going to remember how you make them feel”, so I just want to make sure that I make people feel valued because, at the end of the day, that’s really what it’s about. It’s about valuing and loving others, and that’s what I really hope to do and what I aspire to do — to treat everybody well.