When you watch the different position groups practicing and gaze your eyes on the wide receivers, freshman Melvin Harris automatically sticks out.
After all, he's 6-7.
There aren't a whole lot of football players who are 6-7 - the Rebels have one other one, former hoops player Jermey Parnell at 6-8 - and there certainly aren't many 6-7 wideouts running around, but the Buford, GA, product is one of them.
While his height is what first draws your eyes, it doesn't take long to see he's not a novelty. The kid has some game too.
"Melvin has soft hands and excellent body control. He's smooth and more graceful than you might think and he's got pretty good speed," said Rebel Coach Houston Nutt.
But it took a while to see what Melvin was all about. He came to campus the first semester of summer school but broke his foot during one of the early workouts, sidelining him for the entire summer, including some of the August preseason work.
When he returned healthy, the WR rotation was already set and it was already decided Harris need a redshirt year anyway to build his rail thin body up.
Now, he's healthy and everything is starting to take shape. Melvin is making an impression in practices and working hard to get his body filled out.
"I have gained 15 pounds since my injury," the personable Harris smiled. "I am now up to 195 pounds, which is still thin, but I'm getting there.
"I want to be 215 pounds before the spring ball starts next year and I think I can reach that goal. I'm working hard at it. I can already tell I'm a lot stronger. Coach (Don) Decker has a great strength program and it's paying off. I can tell the difference in my play too. I don't get pushed around and thrown off my routes as much by the DBs as I used to."
Melvin believes his consistency and persistence will pay off in the long run, but he knows he's on a long journey and has patience.
"I always try to get every rep I can with the scout team and (QB) Nathan (Stanley) and I throw after practice a lot," he explained. "I want the coaches to know I'm dependable and will work hard."
Harris wants to work on his running technique, but other than that he feels he's on a par with the other redshirt freshmen.
"The strength coaches are telling me if I fix my stride that I will gain more speed, so I am working on that," he said. "I feel I have good hands and can adjust to the ball in the air. I feel my body control is pretty good and I run good routes. I just need to keep working on all my receiver techniques. I want to make an impact in spring training.
"My height is a big advantage when I use it in the right way. I'm still learning how to use it to my advantage but Coach (Ron) Dickerson has helped me with that too."
Melvin gets mentioned as an up-and-comer by Nutt often. He's proud of that and wants to make sure Nutt's praise is warranted.
"I never want to let him or any of the coaches or my teammates down. I want to make sure that when my number is called that I can be trusted," he closed.
From the fairly constant praise Nutt is giving Harris, that kind of trust is not too far down the road.
About 20 pounds more and this kid could be hard to handle.
Melvin Harris -
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