As we roll along in the countdown of the top 60 players at UM, we reach No. 2 on the list: Quarterback Jacory Harris. Make no mistake about it, he's not just the startng quarterback for the Hurricanes. Jacory Harris is the heart and soul, the leader and perhaps the reason this program climbs back into the national landscape.
> What we heard about him on Signing Day '08: Harris was a nobody at Miami Northwestern as a sophomore. But as a junior, he became somebody quickly. The skinny and tall former receiver led the Bulls to a 15-0 record and the Class 6A state championship. He followed it up by starring at the Elite 11 quarterback camp as a senior and leading the Bulls to another state title and perfect record. He shattered Miami-Dade records in the process, throwing 49 touchdown passes and only six interceptions while completing 222 of his 333 passes for 3,445 yards. EA Sports decided to name him the National Player of the Year and he was ranked the 7th-best pro style QB by Scout.com and 20th best by ESPN. He chose the Canes over Oregon.
> What he's done as a Cane: He wasn't the starter in 2008, but he was the better quarterback and proved it in 13 games, out-dueling Robert Marve who decided to transfer to Purdue after the season. Harris wasn't spectacular. But he was gutsy and was named the ACC's Rookie of the Week three times and completed more than 60 percent of his passes and finished with 1,195 yards, 12 TDs and 7 INTs. His best work came late in the game as he engineered a come-from-behind win at Duke with five TDs and led the game-tying and game-winning drives against Virginia.
> What Eye On The U expects from him in '09: Bigger things. Harris has been ridiculed for his lack of girth, but not once in his career have I seen him take a hit and not be able to remain in the game. This year, he's added more bulk to his frame (6-4, 190) and his shoulder has healed. Teammates in camp say he can throw the deep ball just fine and he's become even more of a leader. New offensive coordinator Mark Whipple has the reputation for being the kind of coach who puts his players in situations they can succeed in. If that's the case, look for Harris to thrive in the mid-range passing game. He has a collection of the finest receivers in the ACC and if he has any sort of time to throw the ball the saavy on where to put it. If everything goes right by season's end, then there is no reason Harris won't head into the start of his junior year with some Heisman talk. And if things go amazingly well, then we might just see that afro, pink suit and pimp cup at the podium in December 2010. Jacory Harris is a winner. And if he gets enough help, he'll make Miami a winner once again too.
FYI... Seeing how I didn't get a lot of time off this summer covering the Marlins, I decided to take this week off (knowing the Canes start prepping for Florida State next week). So, there will be no updates here from practice this week. Our Susan Miller Degnan will be out there covering it all when practice resumes Thursday morning. I'll be back out there beginning Monday.