Yesterday morning, UCLA football picked up a commitment from 2-star ATH Hayden Harris. Harris. Harris will come to the UCLA Bruins from Eastside Catholic HS in Sammamish, Washington.
According to 247Sports’ Brandon Huffman, Harris will “play outside linebacker, the position he settled in for the Crusaders this year, helping them win a Washington 3A state title this season.”
Normally, this is where I would expound on a recruit’s “tale of the tape” and discuss how tall and how fast a given prospect is, but I recognize the fact that many of our readers will likely have the same reaction I did when I first learned of Harris’ commitment: Why is UCLA even making a scholarship offer to a 2-star athlete?
Well, after watching Harris’ senior season highlights, it’s easy to see the need that he fills for the Bruins. UCLA’s pass rush was weak this past season. Much of that was caused by the loss of Jaelan Phillips after just four games. After watching Harris’ defensive highlights, it seems clear that Harris has good football instincts and has the potential to become a pretty good edge pass rusher. His tape shows that he did a nice job for Eastside Catholic this season. Take a look at his senior season highlights from Hudl. His defensive highlights begin at the 3:45 mark.
I wouldn’t necessarily skip through his offensive highlights either because his offensive highlights show Harris’ versatility as both a quarterback, a rusher and a receiver.
All that said, I think another reason Chip Kelly and staff like this kid is his size. Harris is 6’5” tall and weighs 225 lbs., according to his Hudl profile. So, he checks that box for Kelly.
That said, I think Kelly may look to redshirt Harris this fall in order to allow the strength and conditioning staff to make him bigger, stronger, and faster, but the loss of Phillips could change those plans.
Huffman’s article has a quote from Harris which I think is pretty telling. Harris said:
We have been in contact for a few months and they were talking preferred walk-on but this morning that changed to a full ride.
To me, that says that the coaching staff has watched more tape of Harris than just his highlight reel and they like what they see on film.
So, while I totally get why a lot of Bruin fans will likely start wringing their hands when they find out that Harris is “just a two-star athlete,” I also think that maybe, just maybe, Harris could prove to be an example of one of those guys where the star system doesn’t work.
According to Huffman, Harris plans to sign with UCLA tomorrow, even though he won’t take his official visit to Westwood until January.
So, while Harris will have to wait a few weeks to see the campus of the greatest university in the world, he will actually become a Bruin sooner.
Welcome to Westwood, Hayden!