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Charles Harris evolved from “Who?” to “Next Mizzou first-rounder?”

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The biggest question about Charles Harris in 2016 might not have to do with him at all — it might have to do with his battery mates.

Charles Harris
Charles Harris vs. BYU
Derrick Forsythe (Rock M Nation)

Charles Harris

6’3, 255, Jr.

Kansas City, MO
2015: 44.0 tackles, 18.5 TFLs, 7 sacks, 1 PBU, 2 FF
2014: 16.0 tackles, 4 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 PBU, 1 FF

davidcmorrison: OK, OK, OK. Everybody’s extremely high on Charles Harris. For very good reason, I might add.

From August 2013 to August 2014, he transformed from “who?” into “ohhhh, him!”

From August 2014 to August 2015, he changed from “I think we may be onto something” into “this dude’s legit.”

And, from August 2015 to THIS VERY SECOND RIGHT NOW, he morphed from “tremendous college potential” to “tremendous first-round NFL Draft potential.”

It’s easy to see why. His mix of power and speed, his versatility against run and pass, his intelligence and willingness to put in every ounce of work to turn himself from “former prep basketball player Charles Harris” into “current left tackle soul reaper Charles Harris” are all well-documented.

Now ... how will all that translate to his junior year, which will probably be his last at Missouri?

Everybody knows he’s coming this year. Last year he was just kind of a rumor that, by the midway point, became a focal point of opposing game plans.

Just check out his splits over the two halves of the season:

  • 1st 6 games — 29 solo and assisted tackles, 11.5 TFL, 4 sacks
  • 2nd 6 games — 27 solo and assisted tackles, 7 TFL, 3 sacks.

Some of that had to do with better competition, some with wear and tear (and a shoulder that ended up needing surgery), but it also had to do with teams scheming to take him away.

When they did that last year, Walter Brady could punish them from the other end. But now that he’s not around anymore, can the Marcell Fraziers, Nate Howards and Williams(es?) of the world make it so that teams can’t completely key in on neutralizing Harris?

TheRonDavis: Kony Ealy, Michael Sam, Markus Golden, Shane Ray — could Charles Harris be even better? Harris burst onto the national scene last year.

After a seven sack, 18.5 tackle-for-loss performance, he has his sights set on breaking records and the NFL after 2016. His talent alone will get him selected in the draft, but can his production reach first-round status?

At this point, opposing coaches know how dominate Harris can be, so it would be wise for them to either run the ball away from him or send double-teams his way to slow him down. The real question is who’s going to clean up on the other side enough to give Harris more than a handful of opportunities to make big plays? Either way, he’s a great ambassador for a football team that’s in desperate need of positive recognition on a national level.

Oscar Gamble: I heard this Charles Harris guy is good. I’ve heard it so much I might be numb to it. You ever say a word so often it loses its meaning? That’s where I’m at with Charles Harris. It’s gotten to that point where fans are saying “Charles Harris is gonna be good” in that tone that emphasizes the ‘good’ so that you both know you really mean ‘great’.

I’m a bit worried about expectations and living up to reality. As David mentioned above, he’s going to have the full focus of many offensive coordinators and that was before his running mate, Walter Brady, was dismissed from the team. But Charles “Black Ice” Harris remains one of the reasons to tune into Missouri football games this fall. He says he wants hit 15 sacks and break Shane Ray’s record, I think he can do it.

Bill C.: Yeah, the most noteworthy thing about Sam, Ealy, Golden, and Ray is that it was “Sam/Ealy” and “Golden/Ray.” They were unstoppable tandems. There’s a lot of pressure on Marcell Frazier to step up now, and I think he will simply because a) I really liked what he was doing the first half of last year before he hit a self-professed wall, and b) I’m just accustomed to the next end stepping up. It might not happen. But if it does, Harris clearly has potential to top 20 tackles for loss and maybe threaten 25.

The most exciting part about Harris is the evolution. His growth from his redshirt year to 2014, then again from 2014 to 2015, was staggering, and stats aside, I’m excited to watch him play in 2016 just because I’m excited to see what tools he’s added.

His will always be the greatest Signing Day story ever. We all thought Mizzou was done, and then some dude from Kansas City just showed up on the MUtigers.com list. And then, potentially, became a first-round pick.

NCAA Football: SE Missouri State at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports