Changed Man?

Ole Miss junior Wide Receiver Melvin Harris didn't need much of a push to spill the beans with a recent media interview. One question and he was off to the races. Check out what the "new" Harris had to say inside.

Apparently, Melvin Harris had some things to get off his chest when he sat down with the media recently.

Most of his rhetoric was centered around redemption, change, second chances, God, personal mental and physical growth, and attitude.

To get you up to date, Melvin, a 6-6 target who has been on the verge of breaking out for a while now, was suspended for the last game of the year in 2010 for off the field issues.

He's back in good graces now, but, as he says, it was a harsh lesson to learn.

"After watching that game on TV, I cried," said Harris. "It was horrible not to be able to help my teammates and realizing that it was my fault I was in the situation I was in."

Since then, Harris has been working on himself, in many areas.

"I've been changing my lifestyle, changing my environment. I'm getting closer to God. My walk with Him has never been better," he began. "I can tell it by the way I am starting to gain weight and with the positive outlook I now have on life.

"Everything that happens, happens for a reason. I just tried to learn from that ordeal. Right now, I'm putting in the work, time and investment to the team. I can see it all around me. The attitude of the team is so much better and I think we are going to shock a lot of people. Last year, we weren't as close as we are now. I can honestly say we are closer than we have ever been as a team. With that, everyone will fight to the very end and I can't say that about last year. I don't even look at last year, other than to learn from it. I'm feeling blessed. I've been given a second chance to live my life right and thank God for Coach (Houston) Nutt and everyone who has given me that chance. I am blessed to have been supported the way I have been. I have tried to repay that by doing community service. I am trying to reach out and give back to the community because I have gotten so many blessings in the past few months."

As you can tell from that rambling soliloquy, the drawn out answer to one simple question – how are you doing? - Harris has been wanting to talk and once he got started, there was no stopping him.

Melvin said he reached a low when he was suspended and there was no way to go but up.

"I didn't know how I was going to face my family and all the people who helped me through the years," he said. "Everyone in my hometown knows me and knows I play for Ole Miss. They were asking me what happened and I just had to tell them. That was tough. Being around my team that week, knowing I couldn't participate was also tough. What I did just wasn't worth the heartache.

Melvin Harris
File Photo
"The whole thing really got to me and it made me realize what I was risking. I could lose it all. Now, helped by my walk with Christ, I am making sure I do the right things on and off the field. You never know who is watching. My mentality is a lot stronger now. That will help me on and off the field. I now realize I am not out there just for myself or my parents or the fans. I'm out there for God. I've been through so much and now I understand you have to do your best every day because tomorrow is not promised to you. I don't feel nervous about anything related to football anymore. I'm not worried about getting hurt or not doing well or anything. I have a new strength and a new confidence. I'm finally bigger and feel I can use my body more when in the past I have felt skinny. I'm 210 pounds now, a big jump from 185 when I got here. All the praise to God and Coach (Don) Decker. He has supported me spiritually, emotionally and physically. It's showing and I'm a lot more confident now, a lot more."

While Melvin doesn't dwell on the past, he does draw from it, and as far as the Rebels were concerned, 2010 just didn't click.

"We weren't on the same page as a team. Sometimes the OL was doing good and the WRs weren't, or vice-versa. I felt we had a lot of players on the verge of breaking out, but the chemistry wasn't there and we didn't get it done. I knew it the first game. We were in a battle and we were missing something. We had a bunch of small problems that ended up being one big problem," he explains. "We had spent since the Cotton Bowl building our chemistry with Nate Stanley and then (Jeremiah) Masoli came in a month before the season. It was hard to put that together. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. This year, we have been with (Barry) Brunetti, (Randall) Mackey and (Zack) Stoudt since the last game. We know everything there is to know about them. We have the time invested and we know each other a lot better. That's going to help our chemistry."

The Rebels had a small senior class in 2010 and have another smallish senior class for the upcoming year. How can they avoid a repeat of having a lack of leadership/chemistry?

"All of us are now Coach Nutt's guys. We have more leadership throughout, regardless of age. We are all on the same page. I think we are a different group all together," he stated. "Everyone is buying in and everyone is buying into Coach Nutt's philosophy and the way he does things."

One of the prevailing questions to be answered is about the quarterback. Who will it be? Harris is diplomatic in his opinion.

"It's hard to say. I am comfortable with all three, honestly. They are all great in different things. Barry and Randall have better skills running the ball, but during the spring, I caught great balls from all three," he added.

Harris is also confident in the wide receiver corps, even though on paper, it doesn't look like a team strength.

"I think we are ready to step up. It's our time and we are so competitive. Ja-Mes Logan, Vincent Sanders, Korvic Neat and I are all very competitive and we have some excellent young guys coming up. Donte Moncrief is big and fast, T.J. Worthy has great hands. Collins Moore looks real good to me as well. I haven't seen much of Nick (Brassell) or Tobias (Singleton) yet. They will be great additions to our receivers. I think when you combine us with a packed-out run game and an OL that could be one of the best in the country, we will hold up our end," Harris closed. "I'm just so excited about this year, more than ever. I have been playing football for a long time and I have never been this excited. You just don't know.

"I know we are being questioned at wide receiver. I know we are being doubted, but we are not going to sit around and pout about it and get down on ourselves. We are going to work hard and fight to show everyone we can do the job."


Melvin Harris has made some bold statements about changing everything in his life. Can he back it up? Is it real?

We shall see soon enough. . . .

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