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The Pirate Experience
Wednesday, December 9, 2009

By Kevin Monroe

Color analyst for the Pirate ISP Sports Radio
Network, Kevin Monroe was a standout
defensive back for East Carolina from 1995-99.

This urban legend more than a myth

All Rights Reserved.

Dwayne Harris
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 is.

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 mind-blowing.

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
announced Tuesday:

  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

Send an e-mail message to Kevin Monroe.

Dig into Kevin Monroe's Bonesville archives.

12/09/2009 04:06:15 AM


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