Montel Harris wore out his welcome at Boston College, which was no small task for one of the most productive running backs in ACC history. As it turns out, though, at least two of his old coaches are still happy to accommodate his talents: A little more than two months after getting the boot in Chestnut Hill, Harris has resurfaced at Temple, reuniting him with former BC assistants Ryan Day (now Temple's offensive coordinator) and Kevin Rogers (the Owls' new quarterbacks coach). Harris reportedly arrived on campus on Sunday and will be immediately eligible this fall as a graduate student.
At BC, Harris went over 1,400 all-purpose yards in each of his first three seasons on campus and picked up All-ACC honors as a sophomore and junior in 2009-10. He ended his junior season with more yards (3,599) and more 100-yard games (20) on the ground than any other back in BC history – a lineage that includes the prolific likes of William Green, Derrick Knight and Mike Cloud – but also with a knee injury that cost him the final three games of the 2010 season.
The effects of two subsequent surgeries lingered well into last season, when Harris, despite being tabbed by ACC coaches as the league's Preseason Player of the Year, missed the Eagles' first three games in September and was relegated to the redshirt list for the rest of the year after appearing in just two games at midseason.
In February, he was knocked out of spring practice by a re-aggravation of the injury on the first day of drills; by May, he was off the team due to "repeated violations of team rules." His time in Chestnut Hill was up.
But he should find himself right at home at Temple, which has eked out a surprising solid existence over the last three years as the most run-oriented outfit in the MAC. Between them, tailbacks Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown churned out 5,845 yards on well over 1,000 carries from 2009-11, which works out to about 158 yards on 29 carries per game. (The likely starting quarterback this fall, Chris Coyer, got in the act last year with 562 yards rushing in just eight games – including four games in which he didn't attempt a pass.)
Pierce is gone to the NFL with a year of eligibility remaining, and offensive coordinator Scott Loefler is gone to Auburn; the Owls are also lining up four new starters on the offensive line. After the last two years, there's still no guarantee Harris will show up or remain healthy. But with a new workhorse in the stable and run-first head coach Steve Addazio still calling the shots, the transition to the Big East isn't going to be accompanied by any shifts in philosophy.