Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tudor's Take: ECU's Harris pays price for success

While running up one of the most prolific statistical seasons in ECU football history, Pirate receiver Dwayne Harris also is among the team leaders in hits absorbed.

A 6-foot, 205-pound senior with NFL potential, Harris leads Conference USA in receiving with 54 catches for 604 yards and five touchdown through the team's 5-2 overall, 4-0 league start.

In all-purpose yardage, Harris rates No. 2 in the league with an average of 160 per game. He's also thrown a touchdown pass of 39 yards to fellow wide-out Joe Womack.

But in the process, Harris is taking a beating and sat out several plays in last week's win over Marshall after a hit to his helmet on a punt return created some concern on the sidelines and a great deal more among fans in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

At his news conference on Monday in Greenville, Pirate coch Ruffin McNeill said Harris will be ready for Saturday's 3:30 p.m. game at Central Florida (5-2, 3-0). But McNeill also has gone through some tense moments watching the hits.

"I was worried Saturday. The football part I love, but I wasn't worried about football with him. I was just hoping he was alright," McNeill said.

"He is as beat up as anybody after the game but finds a way to get ready. He does not miss practice or reps. We have to hold him back.

McNeill and offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley have compared Harris to Michael Crabtree, the former Texas Tech star and No. 10 overall draft pick in 2009 by San Francisco.
"Down for down, I'd be shocked if there's a better receiver in the country," Riley said. "I don't know if you'll ever see a much better blocker for a guy who does all the things Dwayne does in catching the ball and kick returns."

Central Florida coach George O'Leary emphasized stopping Harris only minutes after his team's win over Rice last weekend.

"No. 17 has given us fits in the past - [Dwayne] Harris. You know, I think as good a receiver he is, I think he's a better return guy," O'Leary said.

-- Caulton Tudor


Anonymous said...

The Panthers are fools if they dont draft this man...we could probably get in him in 2nd or 3rd round. This guy is the truth, and he can definitely block. And remember, drafting an ECU guy seemed to work well for the Titans.

dar456 said...

@ 7:17pm

you should have stopped your post after the 4th word, lol