• My Scores
  • NFL
  • NBA
  • NHL
  • Golf
player photo

Cliff Harris

| | College: Oregon
Copyright NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange

Overshadowed by the prolific scorers on Oregon's offense, Harris played a critical role in the Ducks' run to the 2011 BCS Championship game, emerging as the most dangerous cornerback and kick returner in the Pac-10 -- and perhaps in the entire country.

Though a highly touted prep prospect, Harris was initially expected to redshirt as a true freshman in 2009. Injuries forced the Ducks to play Harris early, however, and he responded with several big plays in the second half of the season, including an interception in the end zone against Washington, a 42-yard kick-return against Ohio State in the Rose Bowl and leading the team with eight passes broken up despite only starting two games on the year. Still, no one could have predicted what would come in Harris' breakout sophomore season.

Harris led the country with 23 passes defended and led the Pac-10 with six interceptions, including two impressive interceptions against Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal. His second came in the closing minutes in the end zone, essentially sealing Oregon's win and Stanford's only loss of the season. He also returned four punts for touchdowns, leading the country in that category, as well. He was a consensus All-American, joining teammate LaMichael James and former Ducks Mel Renfro and Haloti Ngata as the only Oregon players to have ever been so celebrated.

The 2010 season is essentially all scouts have to evaluate as Harris' on-field exploits are only matched by his poor decisions off of it. Due to a variety of run-ins with the law, Harris was limited to just six games in 2011 (nine tackles, one interception). He was suspended twice and ultimately kicked off the team for good in December.

Harris' talent is undeniable. NFL teams are always in search of cover corners with big play ability. To earn the early round pick that equates to his ball and return skills, however, Harris will have to prove that he has the maturity to handle himself off the field.


Man Coverage: Rarely asked to play at the line of scrimmage in press coverage, though he appears to have the quick feet and loose hips to perform well in this scheme. Very experienced in off-man coverage, demonstrating a low, tight back pedal, fluid turning motion and straight-line speed to stick with any receiver in the country. Possesses a legitimate second gear when the ball is in flight and competes for every pass.

Zone Coverage: Excellent anticipatory skills. Sneaks a peek back at the quarterback when he can and will vacate his assignment to break on underneath routes. Possessing an explosive burst downhill to close on the ball. Isn't a physical hitter who is going to intimidate anyone but has very good lateral agility to break down in space and is a reliable open field tackler.

Ball Skills: Possesses very good hands and body control for the position. Times his leaps well, has a very good vertical jump and high-points passes, showing the hand-eye-coordination normally associated with wideouts. Very good vision, agility and straight line speed for the return. To nitpick, Harris carries the ball too loosely when he has it. Muffs the occasional punt and has had the ball ripped out of his hands on returns, as well (Stanford). This would appear to be mainly a concentration issue, however, while he focusing more on making a big play rather than ball security.

Run Support: A bit inconsistent in supporting the run. More than willing to take on the back in space - including bigger ball-carriers - but is okay with his teammates doing the dirty work, as well. Good quickness, agility and aggression in slipping past receiver blocks, but can get tied up by bigger, stronger wideouts. Inconsistent effort in pursuit, though he picks it up a notch when he sees the ball-carrier has a chance for a big play. Takes good angles in pursuit when necessary.

Tackling: A surprisingly effective tackler considering that he often relies on taking the knees out from the ball-carrier. Very good body control and accuracy to strike at the legs of the ball-carrier and does a nice job of wrapping his arms to stop the bigger man. Willing to lower his shoulder and play with physicality, but isn't going to scare anyone with his hitting ability.

Intangibles: Of his eight career interceptions, four have come against Andrew Luck (two), Matt Barkley (one) and Jake Locker (one). Legitimate character red-flags. Has reportedly racked up more than $5,000 in traffic fines over the past three years stemming from various arrests for speeding, driving with a suspended license, driving without insurance, failing to stop at a stop sign and minor in possession of alcohol, among other things. Fresno County court records indicate that Harris has not held a valid driver's license for more than two years. Famously, he and a teammate (quarterback Darron Thomas) were stopped in the early morning hours of July 12 driving 118 miles per hour along Interstate 5 in a car rented by a University of Oregon employee. Found himself in more legal hot water a few months later (Oct. 24) after again being pulled over and ticketed for driving with a suspended license, no proof of insurance and for driving without wearing his seat belt. Was suspended by the team and ultimately kicked off the team for good when he arrested on November 25 for possession of marijuana.

--Rob Rang

2011 Season

Harris was dismissed from the Oregon Ducks for violating team rules in 2011. Harris was already suspended from the Ducks and wasn't allowed to participate in team activities. Harris was suspended by coach Kelly following a traffic stop in Eugene, during which Harris was cited for driving on a suspended license, without proper insurance and without a seatbelt.

2010 Season

The most decorated return man in a single season in Oregon history was named All-America by the Football Writers Association of America, Sporting News, SI.com and ESPN.com, and earned second-team All-America status as a cornerback according to the Associated Press and SI.com ? One of just four consensus All-America picks in school history and first as a returner/all-purpose player ? College Football Performance Awards punt returner performer of the year trophy recipient ? Garnered all-Pac-10 accolades as a punt returner (Coaches, Phil Steele, Rivals.com, Scout.com) and cornerback (Phil Steele), as well as second team honors at his defensive position (Coaches, Rivals.com, Scout.com) ? One of 10 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented to the nation?s top defensive back, and on the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the top defensive player in the country ? Named midseason first-team All-America at cornerback and second-team at punt returner by SI.com ? Led the NCAA with 23 passes defended (1.77 per game) and 17 pass breakups while ranking second in punt returns, averaging 18.8 yards ? Also the FBS leader with four touchdowns on punt returns and six all-purpose plays of 60 yards or more ? Pac-10 leader in interceptions with six (tied for No. 10 in NCAA at 0.46 per game) ? Set the UO single-season mark and tied the career record with four punt returns for touchdowns ? Also established Oregon season records for punt return yards (546) and average ? Five total non-offensive TDs (including one interception return) - all this season - are tied for most in a career at Oregon ? First career fumble recovery, interception returned 22 yards, two breakups and three solo tackles in BCS National Championship vs. Auburn ? Three tackles and one breakup in BCS-clinching win at Oregon State ? Career-high four breakups and first-ever tackle for loss in win at Arizona ? Named College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) national punt returner performer of the week and Pac-10 player of the week (special teams) for Week 11 after his 64-yard punt return for touchdown in win at Cal ? Also had a pass breakup against the Bears ? Two pass breakups, career-high 179 all-purpose yards after returning a pair of kickoffs for 52 yards and four punts for 127 yards in win vs. Washington ? Included against the Huskies was a career-long 79-yard punt return ? Made one interception and one pass breakup to go with a pair of solo tackles in win at USC ? Returned three punts for 54 yards, including a long of 41 against the Trojans ? Career-best four solo tackles among his five stops in win vs. UCLA ? Returned four punts for 83 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown in win at Washington State, garnering national punt returner performer of the week honors from the CFPA ? Also had three solo tackles and two pass breakups against the Cougars ? Had a career-high two interceptions in win over Stanford to go with five tackles en route to Pac-10 player of the week honors (defense) ? Made an interception, three solo tackles and returned two kickoffs for 49 yards in win at Arizona State ? Ran back five punts for 72 yards vs. Portland State ? What briefly appeared to be his third scoring return of the season was nullified due to a penalty ? Contributed two tackles against the Vikings to complement his lone pass breakup of the day ? Returned an interception 76 yards for a touchdown, made one tackle and had a pair of pass breakups in win at Tennessee ? Earned Pac-10 player of the week (special teams) after becoming the first UO player to return two punts for touchdowns in a single game, taking one back for 61 yards and the next for 64 vs. New Mexico ? Also garnered punt returner performer of the week from the CFPA after his effort against the Lobos ? Tied the conference single-game record for punt return TDs, which was last accomplished by USC?s Mike Garrett in 1965 ? Recorded the third-fastest electronic 40-yard dash (4.81) among defensive backs during winter testing.

2009 Season

Injuries in the defensive secondary necessitated a change in redshirt plans as he made his collegiate debut in the sixth game of the year at UCLA ? Was credited with one unassisted tackle and one pass broken up in his opening appearance ? Responded the next game to post five stops at Washington, in addition to breaking up a pair of passes and halting a Husky scoring drive with an interception in the end zone, before posting a season-high six tackles at Arizona ? Responded to his first of two starting assignments with a pair of tackles and one pass break-up vs. Arizona State ? In only eight appearances, tallied 12 unassisted stops among his 19 tackles, in addition to leading the team with eight passes broken up ? Parlayed a pair of kickoff returns for 49 yards in the Rose Bowl, including a 42-yard runback, with a trio of unassisted tackles.

Agility Tests

2011: Clocked 4.79 seconds in the electronic 40-yard (third amongst defensive backs) during winter conditioning.

High School

2009 U.S. Army All-American ? Named the No. 7 recruit in the state of California by The Contra Costa Times ? A 2009 ?Best in the West? selection (No. 10 overall, No. 2 DB) by the Long Beach Press-Telegram ? A Tacoma News Tribune Northwest 100 selection ? An all-state third-team selection ? ESPN Rise California all-State Selection (Defense - DB) ? Played cornerback and wide receiver for head coach and former 49er, Tim McDonald at Edison HS of the County/Metro League ? Ranked the No. 7 and No. 6 cornerback in the nation by Rivals.com and Scout.com, respectively ? Both services rated Harris a four-star recruit ? Named the No. 10 defensive back prospect in the nation by Superprep Magazine ? Had six interceptions his senior season to go with one kickoff and one punt return for touchdown ? Had nine interceptions to go with a kick and a punt return for touchdown as a junior ? Scout.com analyst Brandon Huffman said Harris is ?the best cover corner in the country? ? Edison HS finished second in the County/Metro League and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs.

Personal ? Born Cliff Jamaal Harris on Dec. 12, 1990 in Fresno, Calif. Parents: Willie and Lizette Harris. Family: Three brothers, one sister. High School (Coach): Edison (Tim McDonald), 2009. Major: Undecided.


Born Cliff Jamaal Harris on Dec. 12, 1990 in Fresno, Calif. Parents: Willie and Lizette Harris. Family: Three brothers, one sister.

Latest News
03/15/2012 - Cliff Harris was back at work Thursday in a familiar setting at the Moshofsky Center. It seemed like old times for the former Oregon cornerback, only it wasn't. Harris and several former Duck teammates worked out for NFL scouts during Oregon's pro day. "It was a good day, being back (at) the university, seeing my teammates," Harris said. A 2011 preseason all-America selection, Harris had a series of off-the-field issues that led to his dismissal from the team, and likely hurt his NFL draft stock as well. The most well-documented incident - driving 118 miles per hour on I-5 last summer with a suspended license - is something Harris continues to address with NFL teams, along with other missteps. "I feel like with my past, I have a lot to prove just in general," Harris said. "I'm trying to show everybody that history won't repeat itself. I feel like everybody's got something to prove. It's a job interview." That job interview Thursday included weight lifting, a series of drills, and the 40-yard dash. Harris said he wasn't aware of his 40 times, but there was little doubt that he put in a hard days work. After pro day ended, he walked outside in the rain and got sick. "I'm not out of shape. It got pretty hot," Harris said. "Actually, when I went out that door I went out and threw up." Harris had support from former teammates and family members, who wore T-shirts featuring his picture in an Oregon uniform. In 2010, Harris emerged as one of the premier cornerbacks and return specialists in college football. He had six interceptions, returned one for a touchdown, and led the nation with four punt returns for touchdowns, a single-season school record. - Gary Horowitz, The Statesman Journal

  • Full *Cliff Harris News Wire

    CBSSports Shop

    Men's Carolina Panthers Cam Newton Nike Panther Blue Limited Jersey

    NFL Jerseys
    Get your favorite player today
    Shop Now

    Fantasy Games