Moe Harris: An unlikely journey from New Jersey and New England to Nice on France’s Côte d’Azur

Twenty-four-year-old Moe Harris just played his first season in Europe for the Dauphins de Nice in France’s second league.

The New Jersey native may have had his first European football experience cut short this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But his stats don’t show that. In only five games, Harris racked up  a whopping 1,400 all-purpose yards and 19 touchdowns while leading the Dauphins to an undefeated record.

Before he was running through would-be tacklers in France, Harris was an undersized late bloomer back in his hometown of Pinehill, New Jersey.

“I was under sized only weighing 125lbs and my height was 5’5. I played junior varsity until my junior year. My senior year was my first season playing varsity running back and I did everything I could to be the feature back, but we ran the wing T offense.”

These days It’s hard to believe that the 6’1 220 pound Harris was once overlooked for being too small. Lucky for him the coaches at Castleton University (NCAA D3) in Vermont saw the raw potential that Harris possessed. Boy were they right. As soon as he stepped on campus Harris made his presence felt, running for over a thousand yards winning his conference’s rookie of the year award. By the end of his collegiate career, Harris was Castleton University’s all-time leading rusher with 3,838 yards, 49 total touchdowns, and had gathered All-Conference honors four times.

“I enjoyed every moment at Castleton my teammates were great. They are the main reason I hold those records I owe it all to them and the coaches for taking a chance on me.”

After college Harris was hungry to continue his playing career, competing in different college all-star games, trying out for the CFL, and playing in the Spring League. Harris was doing everything he could hoping to get noticed by an NFL or CFL team, but circumstances did not work out. Unsurprisingly, this didn’t stop the ever-persistent Harris. After finding out about football in Europe from a former college teammate, Harris got in touch Levi Sturgis the new head coach for the Dauphins de Nice, a second division French team located in Nice, on the Mediterranean coastline.

“The Dauphins were one of the few teams to offer me a contract. I always wanted to visit France and their contract was the most complete. Speaking with coach Levi he definitely played a huge part in me going to play in Nice.  I knew it was bigger than just football for him! His goal was to find good men, that can play football not just football players. He wanted to bring a championship to the Nice team and so did I.”

Harris flew to France and dominated on the field, his Dauphins looked like the team to beat in the French second division during their shortened season. Harris was the backbone of the team, excelling at running back, safety, and kick returner. Off the field, Harris was able to enjoy his time in France, immersing himself in a unique culture while living in one of the most beautiful areas in the world.

“The city of Nice was beautiful! Words can’t even describe it! It was definitely an opportunity of a lifetime, I would recommend everyone going to visit the city of Nice, when I get the chance I will be going back to visit the team and the guys who helped make me feel at home the whole time I was there. It was a cultural change for me but it was a good change I enjoyed every moment in Nice.”

Harris was disappointed, like many of us when the season was cancelled, but the determined running back is looking forward to his next chance to play in Europe, whenever it is safe.

“I would have loved to play the whole season and see how things would have ended up but hopefully I’ll play in Europe again and get a chance to continue the story “

Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and