|Drake Harris (image via MGoBlog)|
Weight: 184 lbs.
High school: Grand Rapids (MI) Christian
Position: Wide receiver
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #14
Last year: I ranked Harris #71 and said he would redshirt. He redshirted.
A redshirt was expected for Harris in 2014, and a redshirt was received. He hurt his hamstring pretty badly before his senior season of football began in 2013, and the same injuries continued to hamper him into last year. When it seemed like he was on his way back, he got hurt again. He was practicing with the team this past spring until he tweaked his hammy, so we didn't see him in the spring game, either. Harris was an early enrollee in January 2014, and we haven't even seen him play in a spring game since then.
I have heard rumors this summer that Harris was essentially given an ultimatum by Jim Harbaugh: Be healthy and ready to contribute by July 1, take a medical scholarship, or transfer. I have not heard that from a strong enough source to lend it a ton of credence, but it does sound plausible. When a lone injury costs you two-plus years of rehabbing and sitting on the bench, it seems rather natural to think that it might be career-ending. We've hit that two-year mark.
As for what Harris brings to the field, he's a 6'4" kid with good speed who can go up and get it. A healthy Drake Harris is a potential difference-maker. He hasn't played since high school, and I can imagine that blocking would be an issue at his current size (6'4" and 184 lbs. is very stringy, even though he's put on 10 lbs. since last year). But practice reports from his healthy stretches were positive, and he's a guy who can break big plays, including against a pretty good Michigan defense early this spring. He said on Twitter that he recently ran a 4.4 and appears to be healthy. Michigan has a lot of possession guys, but they have been lacking a big-play threat since Devin Funchess got hurt early last year. Even if Harris is 100% healthy this fall, I don't think he can be an all-world receiver after missing two years. But if he is at full go, then he could be a weapon that we will be looking forward to seeing more of in 2016 and beyond.
Prediction: Backup wide receiver; 15 catches, 225 yards, 2 touchdowns