As it turns out, it will be Harris' last season as a member of the Oregon Ducks. But he isn't leaving the way most expected.
The University of Oregon announced Monday that Harris has been dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules. The full release is below.
Harris' off-field behavior is every bit as disconcerting as his on-field talents are exciting. Harris has a long history of run-ins with the police. He was cited for speeding and driving a car with a suspended license in July, which led to Kelly suspending him for the team's opening game against LSU. He was then suspended October 24 after his second run-in with local authorities and has missed the Ducks' final five games as a result.
The repeated mistakes are sure to force college and/or pro teams to question whether they can trust Harris.
Considering his talent, Harris isn't without options. As North Alabama proved last year in accepting a transfer from former Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins (released by the Gators due to citations involving marijuana), there are always programs willing to gamble on star power.
Should Harris enter the draft, scouts will certainly do their homework on him as he's unquestionably among the elite cover corners in the nation. In 27 career games, Harris recorded eight interceptions. He led the Pac-10 with six interceptions last season and led the entire country with 23 passes broken up. Of his six interceptions in 2010, three of them were against NFLDraftScout.com's top two rated quarterbacks, Stanford's Andrew Luck and Southern California's Matt Barkley.
Harris is currently listed as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 13 rated cornerback for the 2012 draft and a middle round value. He entered the year ranked No. 2 at the position and viewed as a possible first round pick.
As promised, here is the full release from the University of Oregon regarding Harris' release:
University of Oregon cornerback Cliff Harris has been dismissed from the Ducks’ football program for a violation of team rules, according to the Ducks’ Head Coach Chip Kelly Monday.
Harris was suspended indefinitely on Oct. 24 and has since been prohibited from all football activities, missing Oregon’s last five games of the regular season in addition to last Friday’s Pac-12 Conference Championship.
The Fresno, Calif., junior had been credited with nine tackles and one interception in six games this season after missing the season-opening loss to LSU while serving another suspension.
The 2010 consensus All-American finishes his Oregon career with 61 tackles in 27 appearances, eight interceptions for one touchdown, and returned 38 punts for a 16.2-yard average and four more scores.