Size Not An Issue For Nigel Harris

Former local Hillsborough High School product and true freshman linebacker, Nigel Harris, left a tremendous first impression on Coach Taggart and company against Florida Atlantic this past Saturday in a disheartening loss, 28-10.

Tampa, FL-- The moment that junior linebacker Reshard Cliett tumbled to the turf with a shoulder injury against Michigan State, several fans began to panic, wondering who's going to fill Cliett's shoes after such a superb start to the 2013 season.

South Florida headman Willie Taggart had no doubt in his mind on who was going to step in Saturday evening, freshman Nigel Harris.

The former Hillsborough High School star had an astounding first impression on his peers, recording a team-high 12 tackles and one forced fumble in first collegiate start at weak side linebacker in front of family and friends.

"I told him it's your opportunity and you only get one shot to make a first impression," Taggart said. "I think he made a pretty good first impression for us."

A momentum changer at the time, Steven Bench's first career touchdown pass to fullback Ryan Eppes, was the result of a tipped pass by Harris that landed into the captain of the defense's hands, senior linebacker DeDe Lattimore, which put the Bulls in Owls territory.

"He just came out there and he was ready to play," Lattimore said. "He stepped up big for us and we needed it."

Registering 3 tackles on a single drive late in the second quarter and recording 8 of his twelve tackles by halftime, Harris's doubters that have echoed he's too small and not physical enough, were inaccurate. Harris is just now scratching the surface of his vast potential.

"I think Nigel's going to have one heck of a career here," Taggart said. "I've said it before, he's a football player. He may not be the biggest, but he's flying around and he throws his body in there. He plays for this team, he plays for this university and he plays for his family. That's what we want, guys playing for those things and he did it."

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