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Jawuan Harris An X Factor For Rutgers Football

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Speed kills and that makes Jawuan Harris a legitimate threat to opposing defenses for the upcoming football season.

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Jawuan Harris just completed his freshman season on the baseball field and had a pretty impressive debut campaign. He was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman after leading the Big Ten with 37 steals, which was 4th most in the entire country. Harris helped Rutgers shatter the program record for team stolen bases in a single season with a total of 121 stolen bases. This video shows Harris setting the record against Maryland, whom he stole second and third base against on back to back pitches.

Harris also hit over .300 in conference play and finished second on the team with 35 runs scored. While his potential on the baseball diamond is immense, the two sport athlete now sets his sites on the gridiron, where his future could be just as bright.

Harris redshirted with the football team last season after getting injured early on. Now that baseball is over, he is completely focused on football and is set to compete for playing time at wide receiver. This position group is stocked with multiple seniors, including the top three at the top of the depth chart with Janarion Grant, Andre Patton and Carlton Agudosi, as well as Vance Matthews and John Tsimis. While that makes for a crowded group this upcoming season, the coaching staff will certainly give Harris an opportunity to earn time.

His skill set matches closest to Grant, the dynamic kick and punt returner, who will be a focal point of the spread offense this season. As Harris has already proven on the baseball diamond, he is an elite speedster like Grant. In this article by Scout.com's Sam Hellman during the football team's training camp last August, Leonte Carroo raved about Harris and his potential. Note he made these comments before Harris was injured and it was decided he would redhshirt.

"One guy that’s stood out is Jawuan Harris," Carroo said. "He looks really good. He’s a guy that’s going to play for us this year. He’s been doing a tremendous job and I’m proud of him. He’s a competitor. Any time we’re doing 7-on-7, he wants to run with the older guys. Put me in and show me a route and I can make a play."

Hellman stated in the article that the Florida native and former 3-star recruit chose Rutgers over Michigan State before national signing day in 2015. He also had offers from Illinois, Pitt, Cincinnati, and Louisville, according to 247 sports. Harris played at Florida high school powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas, where he led the team in receiving yards, catches, and touchdowns. He played in the slot and flanker positions on offense. Harris also returned punts and kickoffs for touchdowns, helping St. Thomas Aquinas win a state title in a season they finished with a top ten national ranking.

The resemblance on the field to fellow Florida native Janarion Grant is striking. Both are 5'10" and are explosive players with the ability to turn a routine catch into a big play. While Grant is projected to be the top receiver on the team this season, Harris needs to ramp up this summer after missing the majority of spring practice due to baseball.

Harris will need to master the offense and become more consistent catching the ball in order to have the opportunity to make big plays this fall. The possibility of having Grant and Harris line up on the same side of the field could create havoc for opposing defenses. They could also line up opposite one another on kickoffs, which could be a big plus with teams looking to kick away from Grant. Adding Harris into the mix changes the dynamic of the offense and special teams. If Harris can develop quickly this summer and during training camp, he could be in line for a breakout performance this coming season, making him an X factor for Rutgers. Below are highlights of Harris from his senior year in high school.