Lutzenkirchen Sees A Lot To Like In Harris

Former Auburn tight end and current St. James volunteer football coach Philip Lutzenkirchen talks about Jalen Harris and what he'll bring to the table for the Tigers.

Montgomery, Ala.--Former Auburn tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen had a lot of special moments in his career with the Tigers. From his game-winning catch in the 2010 Iron Bowl to his big reception in his team's BCS Championship Game victory over Oregon, he was always a guy to step up when his number was called.

Lutzenkirchen is doing the same thing in his new role as well, working with the tight ends as a volunteer coach at St. James School. Spending his days working at a local financial company, Lutzenkirchen is coaching Auburn's newest commitment Jalen Harris as well in his first foray into the profession. This spring gave him an idea of what the job is all about and it's something he said brought a strong sense of pride and accomplishment to see his pupil have so much success.

"It was a blast," Lutzenkirchen said. "Just to have all the coaches come in from different schools where they were coming to visit for spring practice and me having been recruited by a lot of the same schools and same faces, it was really a cool experience having them come back and ask my thoughts on one of my players. I'm just proud of him. It's very rewarding to see something like that happen to a guy you've spent time with."

Getting the opportunity to learn from one of the top tight ends in Auburn history, Harris has improved by leaps and bounds since the beginning of spring practice according to both Lutzenkirchen and St. James head coach Jimmy Perry. Improving his strength and skill level, Lutzenkirchen said Harris is a player Auburn fans are going to be excited about down the road.

"I met him in February or March and one of the first things I told him is that I was going to expect him to work," Lutzenkirchen said. "All of my coaches said you can't coach effort. You can coach technique and discipline. Even the month I coached him during the spring you could tell me made some big strides. I think it was more of the little things I told him.

"Athletically, he's a freak. He's going to be able to line up out wide or play in the backfield with his hand down. It was really the little things like his pad-level and making sure he plays lower. He can get away right now with just being bigger than everyone at this level and manhandling them. One of the biggest things I emphasized with him was that he's going to have a chance to play early and my focus is to get him ready to face SEC-level talent."

Once he understands what it takes to succeed on the next level, then the sky is the limit for Harris, according to Lutzenkirchen. A great fit in Gus Malzahn's offense because of his versatility, the former Auburn tight end said the future Tigers' tight end could be something special.

"I think he's athletic enough like C.J. (Uzomah) is where you can line him up out wide," Lutzenkirchen said. "He's big enough and strong enough like Brandon Fulse where you could use him as a three-back or at tight end.

"He's 235-240 pounds right now and he's going to be able to get to the 260-270 pound range and still be able to run. I honestly don't know if Coach Malzahn has had a tight end that big and that fast and that versatile. I think you'll see some creative uses with Jalen."


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