Film Study: T.J. Harrell

Michigan State is bringing in speed and versatility with yet another talented athlete in the 2014 class. Spartan Digest breaks down Harrell's game and what the Spartans could do with him in his career.

Michigan State continued its recent hot streak with the commitment of T.J. Harrell on Wednesday.

The Tampa (Fla.) Catholic athlete brings another player to East Lansing that has strong potential on both sides of the ball.

Spartan Digest takes a look at the newest member of the Michigan State class:

The good: No matter what position he is playing, Harrell showcases speed and top-notch athleticism.

As a running back, Harrell is fluid and accelerates with a great burst. Once he hits a hole, too, he generally is off to the races or for a big gain. His potential there is nice, but he just as easily projects to safety or outside linebacker.

As a safety, Harrell brings strong instincts and closing speed, which Michigan State values as it plays its safeties close to the line of scrimmage to take away the run.

In the box, though, as an outside linebacker, Harrell shows physicality and does well to get into the backfield. He could make a nice SAM linebacker a la Denicos Allen down the road.

His film makes it readily apparent that he can be a good player at multiple spots because of speed and physicality.

The bad: There isn't much that jumps out about Harrell that isn't to like. He excels at multiple positions and it is clear why MSU made him a priority early.

The one bad element of being strong at multiple spots is figuring out where to play. Indecision and shuffling can hurt development (counterexample: Jeremy Langford).

As a running back, the area for improvement looks like it would be what most high school running backs have to work at: Blocking.

Defensively, Harrell shows his ability in the defensive backfield as he roams around, but there isn't a lot seen of him covering. Michigan State in its Cover 4 will use safeties to cover downfield and that would be a necessity if he plays safety.

National Recruiting Analyst Jamie Newberg had this to say about Harrell:

"I have watched T.J. for two seasons now. This is a kid that can play on either side of the ball. People don't realize that he's a pretty darn talented running back. But his future resides on the defensive of the ball as a safety. He's best playing playing in the box and close to the line of scrimmage. He flows to the ball and can close in a hurry. He can come off the edge and rush the passer. He can play in space, doesn't shy away from contact and can be physical. He has good coverage skills but there is room for improvement. He looks like a nice fit for the Michigan State defense."


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