It’s been a long journey for Michaelee Harris.
The University of Louisville senior wide receiver has been through six surgeries and a lot of mending – both physically and mentally – during his time since he joined the Cardinals from Miami Northwestern.
Now, three days before the start of his senior season and Harris said he just wants to “Thank God,” for being on the field.
The 6-foot-2, 196-pound Harris, who tore both the PCL and ACL in each knee, said he has been able to do every drill this preseason camp.
”It’s a blessing, I am full go,” Harris said. “I haven’t had to sit out anything. I’ve been working hard and my attitude has gotten better and better.
”There wasn’t ever a time when I didn’t think I would be here, but it was tough. Like I said, it’s just a blessing.”
Harris is expected to be one of the leaders of a deep receiving group that is without senior DeVante Parker for six to eight weeks. Offensive coordinator Garrick McGee said Harris is one of the guys who is likely to step up.
”He’s been one of our lead guys,” McGee said. “He’s one of the guys that everybody looks too because he’s been around so long and because of his personality. He’s one of the guys everyone looks up too.”
Harris said he “can’t wait” to play in the opener on Monday night against his hometown team – the Miami Hurricanes. He had four catches for 54 yards and one touchdown in the Russell Athletic Bowl against the Hurricanes.
”I haven’t sat out anything in camp,” he said with a smile. “I can’t wait. I feel great about our offense. We have a lot of veterans..
”It took us a little bit when we were rusty, but coach (Bobby) Petrino has a lot of formations but I feel good about it.”
Harris was ranked as a top-20 wide receiver out of high school and was likely going to be a starter during the 2010 season but tore the PCL in his left knee in fall camp. Harris made it back but tore the PCL in his right knee during spring practice and missed the next six months, getting back for fall camp. He played in 12 games, catching 37 passes for 455 yards and two TDs, in 2011.
But during practice leading up to the Belk Bowl, Harris tore the ACL in his right knee and also tore meniscus in both knees. He rehabbed after that surgery, making it back for fall camp the next season. But he missed all of the 2012 season when he was injured again. He had lesions removed from both knees.
Harris was slow coming back last season, making it all the way back but sitting out a lot of practice time because of the injuries. He played in 12 games, finishing with 15 catches for 195 yards and two TDs.
”I knew I would make it back and be here (at his senior year),” Harris said. “I always kept a strong mindset. I had to be patient and I had to stay strong.
”I knew I was going to get a chance to come back and do what I do best. Now, I just have to go out there and do it.”