|| | College: Miami (Fla.)|
Harris' Hurricanes career didn't start or end according to plan, but he still has an excellent chance to be the next in a long line of Miami defensive backs to be selected in the first round.
Highly recruited out Miami's Booker T. Washington High School, he was coached by his father and 2007 USA Today National Coach of the Year, Tim Harris, who was a four-time All-American track star for the Hurricanes. Brandon Harris didn't have as much immediate success, struggling to produce big plays and getting picked on a bit when he was thrown into the fire as a freshman.
He used that experience to bounce back with an excellent 2009 season, ranking second in the country and leading the ACC with 15 passes defensed. With opponents reluctant to throw his way last year, Harris registered a modest 48 tackles, eight pass breakups and one interception.
More important, a season Harris said he and his 2008 classmates should dedicate to Randy Shannon turned out to be highly disappointing. When the dust settled, Miami was 7-6, Shannon was fired and Harris opted to declare a year early for the NFL Draft.
"Every year, my confidence rose," said Harris. "I'm at the point right now, my confidence is so high and I believe in myself a ton."
Like every good cornerback, that self confidence remains despite a rough outing in his final game for the Hurricanes. In a 33-17 Sun Bowl loss to Notre Dame, Harris had coverage responsibility on several of wide receiver Michael Floyd's six catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
"In the game of football, plays are going to be made," said Harris. "You're either going to learn from it or you're going to decrease as a player. I think it helped me more mentally to go out and evaluate it and give me something else to work on."
Read & React: Quick to recognize run and does a nice job of coming up in support. Reads the body language of the receiver and is typically in good position to a make a play on the ball due to his instincts and standout athleticism. Rarely out of position, especially when playing man to man. Does a nice job of focusing on his receiver rather than peeking into the backfield, though this leads to fewer interceptions than he'd have if he "cheated" more.
Man Coverage: Better in man to man coverage than zone due to his pure athleticism. Quick feet, loose hips, good balance and outstanding speed to remain in the hip pocket of his opponent. Doesn't back down from the challenge of playing bigger receivers. Keys on the receiver and gets his head around late. Quick hands to knock passes away, but doesn't have the time to locate the football, leading to more PBUs than INTs.
Zone Coverage: Improved his overall recognition as a junior, but remains a better man to man corner than zone defender. Good feel for where receivers are around him, but can get flat-footed and savvy QBs can "push" him laterally, opening up holes for receivers to expose. Generally a reliable open-field tackler, but isn't a punisher.
Closing/Recovery: Possesses outstanding game speed, including a late burst to recover if beaten initially. Can plant and drive downhill on the ball. Good recognition to know when he's beat and to make the tackle and when he has a chance to break up the pass or go for the interception. Times his collisions well so he doesn't draw the flag. Times his leaps well to compete for jump passes and shows good hand-eye coordination to slap away the ball as the receiver is attempting to secure it. Doesn't turn enough PBU's into interceptions, however, only securing four despite 26 passes defensed over his career.
Run Support: Recognizes run quickly and isn't afraid to come up in support. Good agility and flashes physicality to break free from receiver blocks. Maintains his containment responsibility and will force the back inside. Isn't a physical tackler, too often resorting to duck and swipe techniques, but gets the man on the ground.
Tackling: A reliable open-field tackler, but isn't always pretty doing it. Has a tendency to lead with his shoulder and/or lunge at the defender, resulting in some precarious tackles. Flashes the ability to deliver a pop, but relies too much on arm tackles. Has to do a better job of wrapping up the ballcarrier, though important to note that he did not miss a tackle on the games reviewed. Occasionally asked to blitz off the edge. Times the blitz well, shows good closing speed and the wherewithal to strip the football. Did take a terrible angle on a big play by Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd in the Sun Bowl.
Intangibles: Passionate and accountable. Quoted as saying that he and his classmates (2008 signing class) should dedicate their 2010 season to head coach Randy Shannon and that they were largely to blame for Miami's inconsistency. (Despite Harris' words, Shannon was ultimately fired.) Ran track for Miami as a freshman in the 60 meter (indoor), 400 meter (outdoor) and 4x400 meter (both). Good bloodlines. Coached in high school by his father, Tim Harris, USA Today's National Coach of the Year (2007). His brother, Tim, Jr. was a four-time All-American in track for Miami. Only needs to serve a two-month internship to earn his bachelor's degree in Business.
Compares to: Phillip Buchanon, Redskins - Will Harris equal the sum of his parts? Like Buchanon, another former Hurricane, he's an excellent athlete who needs some technique work to produce more game-chaning plays.
Named a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award (nation's top defensive back) twice in his career (2009; 2010) Played in 39 games and started 32 in his three seasons at Miami, recording 132 tackles, nine tackles for loss, four interceptions, five forced fumbles, two sacks and 28 pass break-ups in his career Recorded a career-best nine tackles in a win at rival Florida State in the 2009 season-opener Tallied a career-high six solo tackles twice (at Wake Forest in 2009; at Ohio State in 2010) Used as a kick-returner early in his career, returning 13 kicks as a freshman and two as a sophomore for a career average of 24.5 yards per return Ranked among the nation's elite and led the ACC in passes defended as a sophomore Recorded 30 tackles as a freshman, 58 as a sophomore and 44 as a junior.
Started all 13 games at cornerback Named All-ACC second team Named Jim Thorpe Award Semifinalist for the second straight season Recorded 44 tackles and a team-high 10 pass break-ups Intercepted one pass (vs. North Carolina) Forced a fumble against Notre Dame in the Sun Bowl Recorded a season-high seven tackles (6 UA, 1 A) in road loss at No. 2 Ohio State Averaged 4.5 tackles per game through Miami's first six contests (2.4 pg over final seven games) Anchored a secondary that ranked second nationally in both pass defense and pass efficiency defense during the regular season.
Led the ACC and ranked second nationally in averaging 1.31 passes defended per contest Tied for second nationally with 15 pass break-ups and third in passes defended (17) Named All-ACC First Team by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association, ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Phil Steele Named one of 12 national semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award Ranks third on UM's defense with 52 total tackles One of two `Cane defenders (along with Randy Phillips) with two interceptions on the year Has 6.0 tackles for a loss this season, including a sack and a forced fumble in win over Oklahoma One of three `Canes with two forced fumbles Selected ACC Defensive Back of the Week after tallying a game- and career-high nine tackles (three solo) in addition to breaking up two passes - including one in the end zone with nine seconds remaining - in win at Florida State Had a career-high five pass break-ups and an interception against Florida A&M Recorded his second interception of the season in the regular season finale at USF Averaged 6.0 tackles and a pass break-up in three road trips in the state of Florida.
Started six of 13 games at left cornerback for the Hurricanes Made first collegiate start against Florida State and started against Duke, UCF, Virginia, NC State and California Totaled 30 tackles (22 solo, eight assisted) with two tackles for loss, one sack, one interception and three pass breakups Registered a career-high four tackles at Virginia and at NC State Made first collegiate interception in season finale at NC State and returned it 25 yards Also served as a kick returner and had 13 returns for 274 yards with a career-long 41-yard return coming at Texas A&M Also participated on the UM track team running the 400m and participating on the 4x400 meter relay team during the outdoor season and running the 60m and participating on the 4x400 meter relay team during the indoor season.
Combine: 4.46 40-yard dash; 13 bench reps at 225 pounds; 9'5" broad jump; 35 1/2-inch vertical; 6.77 3-cone drill.
Helped lead his team to the No. 6 national ranking by USA Today As a senior in 2007, caught 26 passes for 501 yards and eight touchdowns, with 1,069 all-purpose yards On defense, he made 49 tackles, five sacks and four interceptions (two returned for scores) Also played quarterback in some key situations and completed eight of 17 passes for 230 yards with a touchdown As a junior in 2006, completed 10 of 10 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns and caught 38 passes for 576 yards and 10 TDs On defense, made 41 tackles, four sacks and five interceptions (two returned for touchdowns) Played in the inaugural Under Armour All-Star game Coached by his father, USA Today National Coach of the Year Tim Harris Brother of former UM three-time track All-American Tim Harris Named Florida Class 6A-4A Male Athlete of the Year, Dade County's 6A-4A Defensive Player of the Year and Florida's Gatorade Player of the Year PrepStar and EA Sports All-American Ranked the No. 6 player in Florida and No. 38 overall by Rivals.com Rated the No. 7 player in Florida and No. 43 in the country by Scout.com Ranked the third-best cornerback and the No. 28 player in the nation by ESPN Selected to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super Southern 100 team.
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