Oftentimes, fans put too much stock into star ratings and prognostications for players coming out of high school. When a four or five star hits, that’s what they’re expected to do. When they underperform, they’re a bust.
Trent Harris joined the Miami Hurricanes as a three-star prospect from Winter Park High School. Overshadowed by larger players with a couple more stars than himself, Harris was never deterred from working his way onto the field and earn his spot on the roster. Harris has had moments of brilliance throughout his career in UM’s defensive rotation since his arrival on campus, earning playing time throughout the season and getting his first career start against Pittsburgh late in 2014. Harris became a full-fledged start as a sophomore, working as a two-point edge rusher in Miami’s 3-4 defense. His five tackles for loss and three-and-a-half sacks placed him third and second on the team, respectively.
Path to the Draft and Measurables
Weight: 248 pounds
High School: Winter Park High School
Hometown: Winter Park, Florida
Best Game Film: Virginia (2017)
Reliability and Availability
Having a guy at each position who knows what to do is always beneficial to coaching staff. It doesn’t mean much if a player is unavailable on game days, however. That has never been an issue for Harris who has only missed one game of his collegiate career. There is a reason why Harris earned the moniker “Trusty Trent”, which comes from the Hurricanes’ defense being so dependable on the pass rush to deliver consistent play for the entirety of a season.
Having played in both a 3-4 and 4-3 defensive system as an edge rusher, Harris’ versatility should endear him to a team willing to find out whether his skill set transfers over to the pro game. The best production of his UM career came as a defensive end in UM’s 4-3 defense (11.5 sacks over two seasons). However, based on his best strength,his speed, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to see Harris transitioning as pass-rush specialist at the next level.
With Harris being on the smaller end of the DE spectrum, Harris uses his speed as his fastball, getting a good jump on the snap with anticipation and rounding the corner against big tackles. While Harris does use other maneuvers to get by blockers, his initial burst and quickness are key attributes to him wreaking havoc in the backfield of his opponents.
All Fastball, No Change-Up
On the other side of the coin, the big question is whether Harris’ speed and size translate well as a pro where his matchups will be bigger than what he dealt with in college. There have been players who measure under six-foot-three that have turned into reliable pieces for NFL clubs. However, each of those players had an ace up their sleeve that helped them gain the upperhand in matchups. My favorite example of this is former Indianapolis Colts’ DE Dwight Freeney and his spin move which still baffles offensive linemen today. For Harris who does whatever is asked of him pretty well, there appears to be concern whether the defensive end can stay at the position or be converted to edge-rusher in a 3-4 defense.
The Final Wave
For the better part of his collegiate career, Trent Harris has been overlooked and doubted. Harris continues to defy his critics, working hard to earn the opportunity to play in games, then making the needed plays on defense. Harris is one of the hardest working ’Canes to come through the program in years, never being as heralded as some of his peers that came to UM with a higher star count beside their name.
It’s a shame that NFL evaluators have been dismissive of Harris’ talent and dedication on the field. I don’t see Harris being selected before the final pick is made on draft weekend, yet I feel that the DE should get a training camp invite shortly after the draft concludes. For Harris, that is all that he may need to stick in the league—just an opportunity to see a man who has worked his ass off throughout his career continue at the next level.
Draft Projection: Sixth round - Undrafted Free Agent
Good luck, oh Trusted One!