Prospects

Prospects
Photo of Victor Harris
Victor Harris (CB)
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 187
College: Virginia Tech
Conference: ACC
Hometown: Highland Springs, VA
High School: Highland Springs
Featured Prospects
Selected by: Philadelphia Eagles
Round: 5
Pick (Overall): 21 (157)
Discuss
Pick Analysis: The former Hokie is a solid zone corner prospect with the skills and toughness to compete for playing time as a rookie. He may be ideally suited to play free safety as a pro.
  1. Overview
  2. Analysis
Overview

It was commonplace during the 2008 season to see Harris line up at boundary cornerback, field cornerback or even free safety. If that was not enough, when it came time for the opposition to either punt the ball away or kick off, Harris handled those attempts as well. And with the team's receiving corps depleted by 2007 graduation, the coaches experimented with their versatile player on the offensive side of the ball during preseason camps.


Even though he did not start there, he was utilized quite a bit as a slot receiver, split wide or as a tailback out of the backfield. What made all of this shuffling around more impressive was the fact that Harris was hampered early in the year by a left foot sprain he suffered during the team's final scrimmage before the 2008 season opener.


Undaunted, Harris continued to play, doing whatever the coaches asked from him. Still, he is a shutdown cornerback, first and foremost. To that end, he gave Wake Forest's Alphonso Smith a run for his money in their quest to re-write the Atlantic Coast Conference record books. Both players tied the ACC career record by returning four interceptions for touchdowns. Harris gained 278 yards on his 15 interceptions (third most in school history), which ranks third in league history. Smith managed to generate 254 yards, finishing seventh on the ACC chart.


Parade magazine might have found the right category to place Harris in. When the youngster was competing at Highland Spring High School, he made the Parade All-American team as an "athlete." That was after he led the Richmond metro area in rushing his senior year with 225 carries for 2,346 yards, averaging 10.4 yards per carry and scoring 27 touchdowns on the ground. He also caught four passes for 90 yards and four scores and racked up 751 yards with four touchdowns on 28 returns. In addition, he contributed 22 tackles and three interceptions as a defensive back, scoring touchdowns six different ways during his final season.


During the course of his prep career, Harris was rated the best player in the state by The Roanoke Times and named the Offensive Player of the Year in the state's AAA grouping by the VHSCA. He picked up All-State first-team honors as a running back and defensive back, as well as second-team as a kick returner. He made the Super Prep, Prep Star, USA Today and Prep Football Report All-American first-teams. Prep Star rated him the second-best prospect in the country and Rivals.com gave him a third-place ranking.


Prep Star also chose Harris to its Dream Team 100 and All-Atlantic Region squads. He was ranked as the best player in the state and fourth-rated cornerback by Scout.com. He participated in the U.S. Army All-American Game in San Antonio, as he finished his career as the Central Region's career leading ground gainer with 5,320 yards, scoring a total of 70 touchdowns his final two seasons.


Needless to say, every major university tried to recruit Harris, but he had his heart set on playing for head coach Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech. But before he could even suit up for that school, tragedy struck twice. The story of Victor "Macho" Harris' tumultuous December of 2004 is widely known, but always worth repeating.


First, he suffered third-degree burns on Dec. 15, the day Beamer and assistant Jim Cavanaugh were coming to his house for a recruiting visit. Harris' mother, Maritza, was preparing a meal for the coaches, and a grease fire broke out in the kitchen while she was at the store. Harris put out the fire by throwing a quilt on the pan, but suffered burns in the process. He has small scars on his face, and skin grafts on his right forearm.


Then, 10 days after Beamer's visit and five days after he committed to the Hokies, his mother fainted at home on Christmas Day and passed away at the hospital. He has a tattoo on his left forearm of an image of his mother and the words: "My angel. My reason. My mother." He also has a tattoo on his neck that reads "Mama's Boy." Maritza Harris was 43.


Harris lettered as a true freshman at Virginia Tech in 2005, seeing most of his action on special teams. He blocked a kick, deflected two passes in brief action as a "field" cornerback and produced 12 tackles (7 solos) for the coverage units. Having bulked up in the offseason, he beat out incumbent Roland Minor for the field cornerback position in 2006. He picked off four passes, returning one for the first of his four touchdowns on interceptions for his career. He also collected 34 tackles (22 solos), despite playing the latter part of the schedule with a shoulder dislocation from the Kent State game.


Harris earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors in 2007, starting all 14 games at field cornerback. He also started to become acclimated with return chores. He posted 36 tackles and deflected 11 passes. A collarbone contusion at Duke would limit him as a kickoff returner the rest of the year, but not before he tied the school record with a 100-yard runback for a score vs. Clemson. He averaged 34.7 yards on six kickoffs and 7.4 yards on five punt returns. He also scored once on five interceptions and batted down eleven passes.


Harris missed the 2008 season opener vs. East Carolina due to a left foot sprain, but the All-American first-team pick returned to start the final 13 contests, shifting to boundary cornerback. He registered 46 tackles (32 solos), caused two fumbles and recovered another. He also broke up eight passes and intercepted six others, tying the school single-season record by returning two of those pass thefts for touchdowns. He averaged 15.0 yards on four kickoff returns and 9.3 yards on 25 punt returns. He also snatched eight passes for 63 yards (7.9 avg) and rushed five times for a 9.6-yard average.


High School

Attended Highland Springs (Va.) High School, playing football for head coach Scott Burton...Parade All-American team selection as an "athlete"...Led the Richmond metro area in rushing his senior year with 225 carries for 2,346 yards, averaging 10.4 yards per carry and scoring 27 touchdowns on the ground...Also caught four passes for 90 yards and four scores and racked up 751 yards with four touchdowns on 28 returns...In addition, he contributed 22 tackles and three interceptions as a defensive back, scoring touchdowns six different ways during his final season...Rated the best player in the state by The Roanoke Times and named the Offensive Player of the Year in the state's AAA grouping by the VHSCA...Picked up All-State first-team honors as a running back and defensive back, as well as second-team as a kick returner...Made the Super Prep, Prep Star, USA Today and Prep Football Report All-American first-teams...Prep Star rated him the second-best prospect in the country and Rivals.com gave him a third-place ranking...Prep Star also chose Harris to its Dream Team 100 and All-Atlantic Region squads...Ranked as the best player in the state and fourth-rated cornerback by Scout.com...Participated in the U.S. Army All-American Game in San Antonio, as he finished his career as the Central Region's career leading ground gainer with 5,320 yards, scoring a total of 70 touchdowns his final two seasons.


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Analysis

Positives: Natural playmaker. ... Versatile athlete with the skills to help at multiple positions. ... Alert zone defender. ... Reads the quarterback's eyes and closes quickly on the ball. ... Reliable open-field tackler who flashes explosiveness as a hitter. ... Willing to dirty his jersey against the run. ... Good lateral agility to elude blockers and will come up aggressively in run support. ... At least adequate hip flexibility and straight-line speed. ... Natural hands for the interception. ... Can track the ball over either shoulder. ... Good leaping ability and times his leaps well. ... Can highpoint passes and shows the strong hands to snatch passes out of the air. ... Reliable hands as a returner. ... Good vision and burst as a returner.


Negatives: Might lack the hip flexibility and straight-line speed for man coverage. ... Inconsistent press technique and lacks the burst to keep up with faster receivers if he misses his initial punch. ... Likes to go for the intimidating hit and will occasionally fail to wrap up properly when dropping his shoulder into the ballcarrier. ... Plays a flashy, emotional game and can get carried away on the field, drawing penalties.


Injury Report

2006: Suffered a shoulder dislocation vs. Kent State (11/11).


2007: Left the Louisiana State game (9/08) at halftime with a hamstring strain...Suffered a collarbone contusion vs. Duke (10/13).


2008: Missed the season opener vs. East Carolina (8/30) after suffering a left foot sprain during the team's final August camp scrimmage.


2009: Did not participate in the bench press at the NFL Combine due to an elbow sprain.


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