One of the ongoing story lines on the defensive side of the ball throughout fall camp has been the battle for the 4th cornerback spot on the depth chart. With redshirt sophomore Wil Wahee going down with a torn ACL last week, several young players are in the mix to fill that void. Heading into the first game of the season, true freshman Tim Harris seems like a good bet to see some playing time in that role.
Harris, a 4-star prospect from Richmond's Varina High School, signed with Virginia over offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, North Carolina and many others. Considered one of the most important recruits for UVa in the 2013 cycle, Harris could have been slotted at either cornerback or safety in his collegiate career. The coaching staff preferred Harris as a cornerback, and he has impressed the staff so far in fall camp at that spot. The newcomer Harris had to deal with a setback a few weeks ago, when he was sidelined for a while with a groin injury. In the past few days, Harris has been cleared to play and returned to practice.
At 6'2" 190 pounds, Harris has great size and range for a cornerback. In Jon Tenuta's heavy-blitzing scheme, the ability to play man coverage and cover a lot of ground will be crucial for the young defensive backs in the system. Harris has all the raw tools, and the size to be able to help out with run defense, securing the edge and being an effective tackler. Both Tenuta and Mike London have praised Harris' play and potential througout camp, and are trying to work him in with as many reps as possible before the season begins.
If Harris hopes to earn significant playing time this season, his main competition will probably be fellow freshman Kirk Garner, who we will profile later this week. If Harris is able to pick up the concepts of Tenuta's defense over the next few weeks, and if he can stay healthy enough, the Richmond native is a pretty sure bet to contribute for the Cavaliers in 2013.