One of the top wide receivers of the 2014 class will no longer be pursuing playing time as a wide receiver.
Drake Harris will tryout at cornerback.
During an injury plagued high school career at Grand Rapids Christian, Harris recorded over 2,000 receiving yards and led his team to a state title his junior year. Unfortunately, he missed the entirety of his senior year due to a string of hamstring injuries.
These nagging injuries followed Harris to Ann Arbor, where he compiled only eight catches for 50 yards during the 2015 and 2016 campaigns combined. These injuries never really let the Grand Rapids native get his footing among talented wideouts such as Amarah Darboh and Jehu Chesson. This perpetual, injury induced fall down the depth chart continued into 2017, where Harris did not participate in the spring game and team trip to Rome.
Compounding his struggles is the addition of two extremely talented recruiting classes in 2016 and 2017. Sophomores Kekoa Crawford and Eddie McDoom are expected to contribute immediately this year, alongside junior Maurice Ways. While the 2016 class was impressive, the incoming 2017 wide receiver group blows that class out of the water.
Incoming freshman Donovan Peoples-Jones, Tarik Black, Oliver Martin, and Nico Collins have an average 94.86 (out of 100) recruit ranking on 247 sports, and all were four stars or above. This could very well be one of the Wolverines best wide receiver classes to ever come through Ann Arbor. Black and Peoples-Jones have already enrolled and participated in spring practice, where Black stood out and played like a starter.
These talented young group of wide receivers will most likely usurp the spot Harris was finally hoping to claim this fall, and ultimately he will have much less competition among a group of young, unproven cornerbacks.
The group of cornerbacks Harris will fight for starting minutes alongside include Lavert Hill, David Long, Keith Washington, Ambry Thomas, Ben St-Juste and Brandon Watson.
Washington, a third year sophomore, had a promising spring game in which he almost completely neutralized freak athlete Donovan Peoples-Jones. In addition, both Hill and Long were highly touted four star recruits coming out of high school, and are expected to contribute on the field in the upcoming season.
While there is no glaring weak spot on Michigan Football’s roster for Harris to fill, the cornerback position certainty seems the most promising location for Harris to make an immediate impact. The transition from wide receiver to cornerback is sometimes fairly natural, with the ball skills and quickness required for this position translating somewhat easily.
A troubled transition from high school to college football, paired with the his injury history, has made the majority of Harris’s young career a disappointment. However, he has a chance to turn over a new leaf and start fresh at cornerback.
Here’s to hoping he can maximize the opportunity.
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