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Only Nigel Harris Days Until USF Football

After a breakout 2014 season, Harris is set up for even more success this fall as one of only two linebackers on the field.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
#57 LB Nigel Harris
Junior, 6'0", 220 lbs.

Stats in 2014: Harris was second on the team in tackles (77); only Jamie Byrd had more (95). He also forced six fumbles, which made him USF's second-ever NCAA Statistical Champion:

Spot on Spring Depth Chart: Starting outside linebacker above Tashon Whitehurst. This is the "stinger" position in the new defensive scheme.

How He Came to USF: Harris was a star linebacker at Hillsborough High School and got interest from Auburn, Florida and Oregon, but none of them made an offer. Aside from USF, he did get offers from Arizona, Indiana, Purdue, Wake Forest, and a few other schools. Harris cited USF's football facilities and the relatability of the coaching staff as his reasons for staying in Tampa.

Recruiting Rankings: Everyone gave Harris three stars.

Projected Playing Time: All of it. Harris was suspended for part of the spring for violating team rules, but he is now back in the good graces of the coaches. He will start at outside linebacker alongside Auggie Sanchez, where he will be a key player. Sanchez and Harris will be the only linebackers out there most of the time so they need to be sharp. Harris' job will involve pass protection, but we will often see him blitzing the quarterback and chasing down rushers behind the line of scrimmage. Sanchez will have more decisions to make as plays develop; Harris will be more free to follow the ball. Harris' lighter weight was a concern when he first came to USF, but at 220 pounds he is the perfect size to play the stinger position, which requires a lot of speed.

Fun Fact: The blond streak in Nigel's hair is inspired by Wiz Khalifa, his favorite artist.

Highlight: This is Harris forcing a fumble during the Western Carolina game last year: