2012 NFL Draft: Jacory Harris Battling for Starting Job but Has NFL Attention

Eric GalkoFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2011

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 9: Jacory Harris #12 of the Miami Hurricanes warms up prior to the game against the Florida State Seminoles on October 9, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Coming out of high school, Jacory Harris was a top recruit out of Florida. He had back-to-back undefeated state championship seasons at the 6A level and was seemingly primed to be a star at the next level.

The thin, athletic, heady high school quarterback went to Miami (FL), and in his first year he eventually beat out fellow freshman Robert Marve (who has since transferred to Purdue) at the end of the season.

In 2009, his sophomore season, Harris broke out as the starter and had 3,164 yards, 23 touchdowns, a 60.3 percent completion rate and 17 interceptions. The team was on a roll, especially early in the season, and Harris was even in the mix for the Heisman at one point.

In 2010, he started off okay and was still highly thought of by media members, though his interception totals would begin to be a problem. Harris has a great head football IQ-wise and off the field, but his hesitation down the field and him being consistently not on the same page as his receivers was a glaring problem.

Miami as a team was 117th in penalties in 2010 and 119th in turnovers among FBS programs, which can be blamed partly but not totally on Harris. Harris did suffer a concussion in the team's ninth game last year, and then-freshman quarterback Stephen Morris took over and went 2-2, finishing with five touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Harris now comes into his senior season battling for his starting job, a position that new head coach Al Golden and new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch say is wide open. Fisch has said that both quarterbacks have a "clean slate."

An interesting aspect of this quarterback battle is not the sophomore Morris, but how Miami, the ACC and, maybe most importantly, NFL teams portray Harris.

The 6'3", thinly built, 190-pound Harris was given a fifth-round grade by the National Scouting Service, a service that is funded and hired by NFL teams. That fifth-round grade was given despite a 17 on the Wonderlic that Harris scored.

The biggest concerns about Harris' talents as a quarterback have been his decision-making and his size as a next-level football quarterback. The 37-32 touchdown to interception ratio is not something that will appease NFL scouts, and he'll need to prove that those two years of starting experience and having lots of experience with his receivers will improve that.

Also, at 190 pounds, he's far too thin to last in the NFL. While he doesn't need to blow up like JaMarcus Russell, he'll need to add another 30 to 40 pounds in the next two to three years before he can last in the NFL.

He'll be in Jedd Fisch's offense this year, which is a pro-style, quicker offense. Fisch is the former quarterbacks coach for Seattle. This offense features loads of talent at running back with Lamar Miller and Mike James, at offensive line with four returning starters and at receiver.

At receiver, LaRon Byrd and Travis Benjamin have been inconsistent, but both have NFL potential. Tommy Streeter and Aldarius Johnson are both very talented as well and have been playing with Harris since high school. Also, USC transfer Blake Ayles will be sliding in the tight end spot, a position many Miami quarterbacks have had success with in the past.

In terms of Jacory Harris' priorities, before he can think Heisman or NFL draft, like he once did with Dan LeBatard, he needs to first and foremost beat out Stephen Morris as the team's starting quarterback. But myself, many still around the Miami program and evidently NFL teams still feel he can reach his potential, show some more flashes of his 2009 form and get back in the national spotlight as a current and future star at quarterback.


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