Playing football at a high level is incredibly difficult. Doing so as a senior in high school after not playing football since since middle school? Darn near impossible. But that was the task at hand for Jordon Harris.
The former high school basketball standout from Pine Bluff, Arkansas wasn’t seeing his basketball recruiting going the way he hoped or expected. The offers weren’t coming in for basketball. He had the grades (4.0 GPA) to get an academic scholarship if all else failed. But it was time to take a chance on something else. It was time to try out football.
He played tight end and defensive end, the classic “basketball build” positions. Standing at 6-foot-6 and weighing in around 235 pounds, the potential wasn’t hard to see. It became even more obvious when he scored a touchdown in his first game. He finished the year with four touchdowns on five receptions, averaging more than 25 yards per catch. He added another seven sacks defensively. Not bad for Harris’ first season playing football since little league.
Harris claimed offers from the likes of Vanderbilt, Memphis, Air Force and South Florida, but chose on Signing Day to commit to Mizzou. Harris, now rated as a 3-star on Rivals, is one of 19 known commitments in Missouri’s 2023 class.
Where he fits: Harris is a true 2-way player, so he could end up at either defensive end or tight end, but i sounds like he’s more likely to start out on the defensive side of the ball. His 7-foot-1 wingspan gives him the length that defensive line coaches dream about. Harris has a long way to go when it comes to the technical side of the game, but the staff knows he’s a project and they’re willing to invest the necessary time to see what Harris looks like as a fully formed player.
When he’ll play: The expectation should be that Harris never sees significant playing time at Missouri. That doesn’t mean he can never and will never see the field. It simply means setting reasonable expectations.
This is not the first time Missouri’s taken a “project” along the defensive line. Charles Harris, a 2-star defensive end out of Kansas City, was another “surprise” signing back in 2013. Missouri was his only known offer at the time. That ended up working out pretty well! On the other hand, the Tigers took a commitment from Montverde Academy 3-star pass rusher Franklin “Smash” Agbasimere in 2015. Agbasimere stayed at Mizzou for five years, but finished with just 10 total tackles and one sack in his Mizzou career. That’s how it goes with these kinds of projects. The upside is a future NFL draft pick. The downside is a player who might not see the field much in his entire time at Mizzou. The risk is worth the potential reward, especially for a player with the raw traits of Harris.
What it all means: Missouri added an athlete to the mix with the potential to be an impact player at either defensive end or tight end, depending on his his time goes at Missouri. Harris is going to spend much of the next couple years refining his craft while spending his off time with the strength and conditioning program.
The Tigers’ biggest “surprise” on signing day is one with lots of upside. Here’s to hoping Jordon Harris has the same ending as Charles Harris did.