Friday, July 24, 2015

2015 Season Countdown: #37 Drake Harris

Drake Harris (image via MGoBlog)
Name: Drake Harris
Height: 6'4"
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


  1. To me, he's one of three potential breakout players at WR (along with Canteen and Cole). We know what Chesson and Darboh are, more or less, and we can expect them to be good. But if we want a true game-changing play-making threat it's probably coming from one of the younger talents.

    I have my doubts about Harris coming in and contributing this year, but I hope he can get healthy and at least make progress in the right direction. Even if he is healthy, 6'4/174 is a difficult weight to play at. Bumped up to 185-190 that's still quite light. Canteen played last year at 171 and looked rail thin, even being 'only' 6'1. Harris is supposedly 6'4. But that doesn't mean he can't play in some obvious passing downs here and there. Put him on the outside and lets see what that speed and height can do on a deep ball.

    Like with Ty Isaac, I take the lack of buzz and injury as a negative sign that increments my expectations downward. But Harris is a year younger and there is plenty of time to get right.

    I think Canteen clearly is more important to this team than Harris. Still, Harris' potential is significant, so the overall rank is reasonable IMO.

  2. Hamstring injuries are tricky, aren't they? Once injured they are prone to reinjury? I hope he can stay healthy ...

  3. If he stays healthy and does 20 catches this year I will consider it a huge victory because it means he can run at full speed for more than 4 weeks in a row and not get hurt. Would be very good for 2016. If not, I will think he transfers after this year.

  4. I would really like to see this kid succeed in a big way, but i just can't get a good feeling about his chances.

    1. I've had an irrational 'bad feeling' about Harris since he was a recruit.

  5. This isn't meant as a criticism of Harris, but it shocks me that a hamstring injury could potentially end the career of a fit 20-year-old. I tore my hamstring pretty bad at age 30 and was back running and playing competitive sports again with a few months and haven't had any issues again for years. Now, My body isn't required to do the things a FBS wide receiver's is, but gosh, someone that young and fit would seem to heal up.

    1. This seems to be a chronic injury and is affecting both legs, not a one-off. Might be something with the way he runs or body construction. Everybody's different.