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player photo
 
 
Roman Harper
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 205 | Position:DS | College: Alabama
 
Overview

A model of consistency throughout his career, Harper became known for his bone-jarring tackles with the Crimson Tide. He started his final 38 games at Alabama, ranking second among defensive backs and sixth overall on the school's career-record list with 302 tackles.

At Prattville High School, Harper played quarterback and free safety his senior season. On defense, he finished the season with 58 tackles and four interceptions in limited playing time due to a broken leg. As a quarterback, he accounted for more than 800 yards of offense and 13 touchdowns. He was an All-County, All-Metro and Birmingham News All-State pick. Prattville finished 9-2 on the season. Harper was offensive MVP for the Lions and was also voted team captain.

Harper redshirted in 2001 at Alabama. He appeared in every game as a reserve free safety in 2002, pacing the team's second unit defenders with 42 tackles (27 solos) with a pair of sacks, a fumble recovery and a pair of forced fumbles. Harper started every game at strong safety in 2003. He registered 114 tackles (79 solos) with an interception and fumble recovery. He joined linebackers Derrick Pope (105) and DeMeco Ryans (126) in becoming the first trio in school history to each record more than 100 tackles in the same season.

Harper earned All-Southeastern Conference second-team honors in 2004. He collected 77 tackles (45 solos) with a sack, seven stops for losses, three interceptions and four pass breakups after moving to free safety. He also caused a fumble and recovered two others. Harper elevated his play in 2005, picking up first-team All-SEC recognition. He led a unit that ranked first in scoring defense (10.67 ppg) and fifth in pass defense (160.75 ypg), as he was in on 69 tackles (38 solos), including nine stops behind the line of scrimmage, an interception and two forced fumbles.

Harper played in 49 games for Alabama, starting his final 38. He ranks sixth in school history with 302 tackles (189 solos), adding 3.5 sacks for minus-28 yards and 19 stops for losses of 56 yards. He intercepted five passes for 76 yards in returns and had fifteen pass deflections. He was credited with six quarterback pressures while causing five fumbles and recovering four others.

Analysis

Positives: Has a muscular, linear frame with smooth upper body development, good bubble and hamstrings … Physical downhill performer with the strength to defeat blocks working along the line … Shows good field awareness keeping plays in front of him when working in the zone … Plays with good leverage, generating good pop on contact … Has good balance playing in space and uses his hands effectively to play off blocks … Has a good feel for handling switch-offs in the zone and does a good job of picking up the slot receiver playing underneath … Gets a good jump on the ball with his ability to properly read the quarterback … Has enough range to accelerate to the ball, compensating for a lack of blazing speed by taking good angles to shorten his closing burst … Makes plays on the ball with his natural hands and does a good job of getting his head turned to track the ball in flight … Fills the rush lanes with good urgency, doing a nice job of slipping off blocks and sifting through trash to locate the ball … Brings his arms and keeps his feet, generating the strength behind his hits to wrap and secure.

Negatives: Better playing in the zone, where he can keep plays in front of him rather than in man coverage … Has just adequate hip snap to turn coming out of his pedal, but is too high in his stance to generate immediate acceleration coming out of his breaks … Lacks explosive closing speed, compensating by taking proper angles to close … Controlled and physical tackler, but does not have the hand strength to match up and reroute bigger tight ends … Does not have the recovery burst to get back into the action once beaten on pass routes.

Harper is a productive athlete with valid instincts and above average ball anticipation skills. He compensates for a lack of ideal foot speed with the range and ability to take proper angles in attempts to close on the ball. He is a physical tackler with good urgency stepping up to support vs. the run. He shows good hand activity to defeat blocks and has enough functional strength to fill the alleys.

Harper's lack of burst and speed makes him a bit of a liability in man coverage. He lacks the ability to fly around, but he comes up quickly, and routinely puts himself in position to make plays. Harper is sound, but not fast in short area pass coverage. He gets good position in the zone and can run with a tight end, but is unable to run deep with a receiver. He trails well though and is capable of taking away easy throws.

When taking on ballcarriers, he squares up, and though not always a wrapper, he will strike with force and is a reliable tackler. He sorts out combination routes well and has good route recognition, taking good angles on the ball. He lacks an explosive closing burst though.

Harper gets too high in his backpedal, and though smooth in his turn, he lacks the speed to recover deep, but shows good range to the sideline. He is worth a look as an athlete who will play smart and has the toughness to contribute on special teams, but is a step too slow to develop into a starter.

Career Notes

Ranks sixth in school history with 302 tackles, topped only by Wayne Davis (327, 1983-86), Thomas Boyd (324, 1979-82), Woodrow Lowe (315, 1972-75), DeMeco Ryans (307, 2002-05) and Marcus Spencer (303, 1997-00).

2005 Season

All-Southeastern Conference first-team selection … Semi-finalist for the Thorpe Award (nation's top defensive back) … Paced a squad that led the nation in scoring defense (10.67 ppg), ranked fifth in pass defense (160.75 ypg) and pass efficiency defense (97.92 rating) and second in total defense (255.08 ypg) … Started every game at free safety, recording 69 tackles (38 solos) … Had an assisted sack for minus 2 yards, nine stops for losses of 11 yards and two forced fumbles … Returned an interception 50 yards and deflected two passes.

2005 Game Analysis

Middle Tennessee … Opened the season with five tackles (4 solos).

Southern Mississippi … Had another five hits and assisted defensive end Mark Anderson in sacking QB Dustin Almond for a 5-yard loss early in the first quarter.

South Carolina … Posted six tackles (5 solos), including one that stopped slot back Daccus Turman for a 1-yard loss on a first-and-goal play in the first quarter.

Arkansas … Added seven tackles (2 solos) and deflected one pass.

Florida … Followed with an eight-tackle (6 solos) performance.

Mississippi … Was in on six tackles with 1.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, teaming with defensive end Mark Anderson to take down tailback Mico McSwain for a 4-yard loss in the third quarter.

Tennessee … Totaled six tackles, joining defensive end Keith Saunders in stopping tailback Gerald Riggs Jr. for a 2-yard loss on a third-and-11 play late in the first quarter … Caused a fumble when he tackled Adrian Foster on a 2-yard run at the start of the fourth quarter, but the ball was recovered by Vols' offensive linemen Rich Gandy … Later in the quarter, on a third-and-goal play, QB Rick Clausen tossed an 11-yard screen pass to Cory Anderson, but Harper torpedoed the receiver, causing a fumble that Alabama recovered in the end zone for a touchback, setting up a scoring drive that was capped by Tide kicker Jamie Christensen's game-winning 34-yard field goal with 0:13 left in a 6-3 decision … That hit on Anderson was tabbed by The Masters Coaches Survey as the "Defensive Play of the Year".

Utah State … Picked off a Leon Jackson pass at the Alabama 6, returning the ball 50 yards and also made seven tackles (2 solos).

Mississippi State … Held to two tackles, but one stopped tailback Jerious Norwood for a 1-yard loss on a third-and-14 pass from QB Omarr Conner in the third quarter.

Louisiana State … Collected seven hits (6 solos).

Auburn … Produced eight tackles (7 assists) with 2.5 stops for losses, but was penalized 10 yards for a personal foul on a 5-yard reception by tight end Cooper Wallace early in the first quarter. The penalty set up a 7-yard scoring strike from QB Brandon Cox to receiver Ben Obomanu.

Texas Tech (Cotton Bowl) … Closed out his career with a pair of tackles.

2004 Season

All-Southeastern Conference second-team pick … Started every game, making the move from strong safety to free safety in the spring … .Won the Lee Roy Jordan Headhunter Award … Led the secondary with 77 tackles (45 solos), including a 15-yard sack, seven stops for losses of 33 yards and one quarterback pressure … Intercepted three passes for 26 yards in returns and had four pass deflections … Recovered two fumbles and caused another … Participated in 807 plays.

2004 Game Analysis

Utah State … Returned an interception 26 yards in the season opener.

Mississippi … Collected eleven tackles (6 solos) with a 15-yard sack of QB Michael Spurlock, causing a fumble on the play.

Arkansas … Picked off a Matt Jones pass, tackled the QB for a 1-yard loss on a bootleg and posted fourteen hits (10 solos).

South Carolina … Stopped tailback Demetris Summers for a 1-yard loss and delivered eight tackles (4 solos).

Tennessee … Tackled tailback Cedric Houston twice for losses of 3 yards and was in on seven stops (5 solos).

Auburn … Recovered a fumble and made six tackles.

Minnesota (Music City Bowl) … Delivered fourteen tackles (9 solos), including one that stopped tailback Marion Barber III for a 9-yard loss and picked off a pass.

2003 Season

Started all year at strong safety, recording a career-high 114 tackles (79 solos) … Joined linebackers DeMeco Ryans (126) and Derrick Pope (105), as they became the first three players in school history to have 100 or more tackles in the same season … Participated in 1,016 snaps … Picked off a pass and recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown …

Had four pass deflections and five quarterback pressures … Earned "Bobby Johns Most Improved Defensive Back" Award.

2003 Game Analysis

Scooped up a loose ball from a Hawaii blocked field goal and ran it 73 yards for a touch-down … Had thirteen tackles (10 solos) vs. Northern Illinois and a career-high 17 hits (12 solos) vs. Arkansas … Posted fourteen hits (12 solos) vs. Georgia and was in on eleven stops (9 solos) vs. Mississippi … Recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown, picked off a pass and posted ten tackles (8 solos) vs. Auburn.

2002 Season

Recognized by Tide coaches by winning the "Ozzie Newsome Most Improved Freshman" Award … Played in every game as a reserve safety, starting at the strong-side in the season finale vs. Hawaii … Recorded 42 tackles (27 solos) with two sacks for minus 11 yards and three stops for losses of 12 yards … Caused two fumbles and recovered another … Also had two pass deflections.

2002 Game Analysis

His first career double-figure tackle game came vs. Hawaii when he had 11 … Had five tackles each vs. Mississippi and Vanderbilt … Had one sack each vs. Oklahoma (seven yards) and Vanderbilt (four yards) … Forced a fumble each vs. Vanderbilt and Hawaii.

2001 Season

Redshirted as a freshman.

Injury Report

2000: Suffered a right fibula fracture as a senior in high school.

2006: Could not participate in agility tests at the combines due to a left hamstring pull.

Agility Tests

Campus: 4.65 in the 40-yard dash (against the wind) … 4.58 40-yard dash (wind-aided) … 370-pound bench press … 385-pound squat … 300-pound power clean … 33.5-inch vertical jump … 33 -inch arm length … 9 -inch hands … Right-handed … 26/35 Wonderlic score.

Combine: Bench-pressed 225 pounds 19 times. … Did not participate in agility tests because of a left hamstring pull.

High School

Attended Prattville (Ala.) High School, playing football for head coach Bill Clarke … Played quarterback and free safety his senior season … On defense, he finished the season with 58 tackles and four interceptions in limited playing time due to a broken leg … As a quarterback, he accounted for more than 800 yards of offense and 13 touchdowns … All-County, All-Metro and Birmingham News All-State pick … Prattville finished 9-2 on the season … Offensive MVP for the Lions and was also voted team captain.

Personal

Graduated in December 2005 with a degree in Management … Son of Princess and Ronald Harper … Born 12/11/82 … Resides in Prattville, Alabama.