INSIDE SLANTS ON THE PROGRAM
The Pirate Experience
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
By Kevin Monroe
for the Pirate ISP Sports
Network, Kevin Monroe was a standout
for East Carolina from 1995-99.
This urban legend more than a
All Rights Reserved.
(Photos: ECU SID)
is a one-man wrecking crew. He is the best player in college football that
nobody knows about.
It was just three years ago that the Dwayne
Harris urban legend first started. Rumors started coming out of East
Carolina practices that there was a redshirt freshman quarterback with a
cannon for an arm who could run the football like a running back.
When Harris finally got on the field the
following year he was moved to wide receiver. Pirate fans got the
opportunity to see what all the fuss was about.
Three years later he has yet to disappoint,
and the legend still grows.
The things that make Dwayne Harris the
dominant football player he is are just a part of what makes him great.
Speed: Harris's speed is apparent on the field
in the way he runs past would-be tacklers on his way to scoring long
touchdowns. He may not be as fast as Chris Johnson, but then again, nobody
Quickness: There is a distinct difference
between speed and quickness. The true judge of quickness is the ability to
make cuts with your feet never stopping, or stopping on a dime and starting
back with no hitch in your step. Harris is in a league of his own when it
comes to agility — his ability to change directions at full speed is
Strength: We usually don’t mention strength
when talking about wide receivers unless its referring to their ability to
get off a jam. Harris's strength comes when he has the ball in his hands. He
runs through tackles like a fullback. You rarely see a receiver that can’t
be tackled by one player. Harris is that rare guy. If he catches the ball in
the open field, bring a buddy with you if you plan on tackling him.
Those abilities are the things that make him
good, but what makes him great are the intangibles. The things that cannot
be taught and most players can’t fathom. Taking a kickoff back for a
touchdown after breaking three tackles and making five others miss. Catching
a pass with one hand to pick up a crucial third down. Going across the
middle to make a catch and not only taking the big hit, but staying on his
feet and continuing down field.
It is worth noting that if the Pirates needed
him to play running back, he could do it. And if he had to play quarterback
he could do that, too.
Harris was just honored by Conference USA as a
first-team All-Conference wide receiver and a second-team All-Conference
Kick returner. He caught 79 passes for 914 yards and 6 touchdowns this
season. He was also the teams fourth leading rusher and had 5 rushing
touchdowns. As a returner, he had 932 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Those stats are good, but imagine how much
better they would have been if Darryl Freeney would have come along sooner
to take the pressure off him. Harris saw tons of double teams early in the
year, because he was the only big play threat on the East Carolina offense.
If Harris were at a BCS School that played on
national TV every week, he would probably be entering the draft right now
and being considered a first-day selection. Pirate fans should consider
themselves lucky that he isn’t and will be back in Dowdy-Ficklen scoring
touchdowns next season.
Editor's note: East Carolina players claimed
11 spots on the All-Conference USA teams
Sean Allen, senior offensive lineman
Dwayne Harris, junior wide receiver
Linval Joseph, junior defensive lineman
C.J. Wilson, senior defensive lineman
Emanuel Davis, sophomore defensive back
Van Eskridge, senior defensive back
Matt Dodge, senior punter
Terence Campbell, senior offensive lineman
Nick Johnson, senior linebacker
Ben Hartman, senior kicker
Dwayne Harris, junior kick returner
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12/09/2009 04:06:15 AM