In part 2 of our second year profiles, we're looking at CB Tim Harris. Harris was a consensus 4-star recruit out of the Richmond area. At 6'2" and nearly 200 pounds, Harris was physically ready to step onto the field and produce. He was also, from day one, the biggest CB on the team, a bit bigger than Maurice Canady (a former HS teammate of Harris). This made him even more likely to see early playing time as a matchup against bigger WRs or even TEs in substitution packages.
Of course, there was the problem of players ahead of him. CB was arguably the deepest position for the Hoos. Demetrious Nicholson, DreQuan Hoskey and Canady were listed as "co-starters". Then guys like Divante Walker and C.J. Moore were behind them. It wasn't certain where Harris would fit in.
During training camp, we didn't hear much about Harris. We heard about Kirk Garner, another freshman CB with lots of potential. Fans wondered if Garner was ahead of Harris on the depth chart. Then, when the depth chart came out for the Hoos opener against BYU, Harris was listed as a backup to Nicholson, along with Walker. Was this a little bit of misdirection by the coaching staff? Was it a message to Harris (or to Garner)? Or was it simply a need for a bigger CB than the 5'11" 180 lb Garner?
Whatever the reason, Harris was listed on the depth chart and that meant he was likely to play early. Then, he didn't play in the Hoos upset win over BYU. Walker played, although only on special teams. Tim played the next week against Oregon, but did not record any stats.
Harris began getting more and more playing time as the season went on. Then Nicholson suffered a season-ending injury against Ball State. The following week against Maryland, Harris recorded his first start. He started every game after that. In total, he played in 11 games, starting 7. The more he played, the better he looked. He had 1 tackle against VMI, another against Ball State. Then he had 5 tackles against Maryland. He had 7 tackles and a pass broken up against Clemson, and then 5 more tackles against VT. On the season, he had 26 tackles (1 TFL) and 2 PBUs.
The depth in front of Harris remains. Nicholson and Hoskey are both seniors and Nicholson is fully healthy. On the post spring depth chart, Harris is listed as Nicholson's backup. Canaday is probably going to be the first CB off the bench in nickel packages (with Hoskey sliding inside), but Harris will get plenty of playing time. Against teams with bigger WRs, Harris may actually get first team reps as he's a better matchup than the other guys. Even Canady, who is a "big" CB, doesn't match up as well as Harris.
In 2015, once Tra and Hoskey are gone, Harris and Canady will likely make an all-Varina starting CB tandem for the Hoos. Although there is plenty of CB talent behind them, those two would be a tough matchup because of their size and playmaking ability.