Nebraska football fans were watching the Major League Baseball first-year player draft with some interest, waiting to see where wide receiver prospect Monte Harrison would be selected. With most mock drafts having Harrison taken in the first round, Nebraska fans had some hope when he wasn’t selected until pick No. 50 to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Would that mean Nebraska would have a chance for Harrison to put professional baseball on the back burner and come to Lincoln?
If so, that hope didn’t last long:
The transfer of wide receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow from Washington has been occupying the imagination of Nebraska fans recently, however, so the loss of Harrison from NU’s 2014 class may have been a bit undersold. But it’s still a big loss for a number of reasons.
Stringfellow won’t arrive until 2015
As a transfer, Stringfellow will have to sit out the 2014 season. He’ll still have three years of eligibility left, but he won’t be able to help Nebraska next season. Harrison, on the other hand, would have been eligible to play right away as a freshman.
So the most immediate impact of Harrison’s decision to sign with the Brewers is that there will be no big-time help coming at receiver for the 2014 season.
Harrison fit what Nebraska needs at receiver
Here’s what I would project as Nebraska’s starting two-deep at receiver next year:
- WR X: Kenny Bell (6’1”, 185 lbs), Brandon Reilly (6’1”, 190 lbs)
- WR Z: Alonzo Moore (6’2”, 185 lbs), Taariq Allen (6’3”, 185 lbs)
- WR A: Jordan Westerkamp (6’0”, 200 lbs), Jamal Turner (6’1”, 185 lbs)
(All measurables from Nebraska’s depth chart of Dec. 19, 2013.)
So, how big a deal is Harrison's decision to play baseball professionally instead of come to Nebraska?
According to 247Sports, Harrison is 6’3” and 200 pounds but with top-end speed. It’s hard to see how a player with Harrison’s size, speed and athleticism wouldn’t have cracked Nebraska’s two-deep in 2014.
Harrison is just that good
According to Andrew Holleran of College Spun, many thought that Harrison was the best overall athlete in the MLB first-year player draft this year. Think about that for a second. The best overall athlete of 2014 draft—that’s pretty high praise. Sure, he went in the second round, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a phenomenal talent.
Had Harrison not signed with the Brewers, he would have been one of the most talented players, if not the most talented, in Nebraska’s 2014 class (with competition only from offensive guard Tanner Farmer). He had 1.8 million reasons to sign his contract with the Brewers, and Nebraska fans should be wishing Harrison nothing but the best in his budding baseball career.
But, boy, from a selfish standpoint, he could have made quite a difference for Bo Pelini’s squad, both this year and in years to come.
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