Any time a player is the best in his position group, there is an increased importance on his role. Taj Harris’ importance goes beyond his potential. It goes beyond the uncertainty behind center. It even goes beyond the leadership switch Dino Babers is asking him to flip.
Why Syracuse needs him
If Taj Harris doesn’t have a good year, who will? Anthony Queeley find himself as the second-best receiver after Nykiem Johnson’s transfer to Kent State, taking his four touchdowns and big play potential with him. Maybe the most impressive part of Harris’ team-best five touchdowns and 733 yards was that he stayed fairly consistent with three different quarterbacks. That will be essential with the two quarterback system that Babers has in the cooker.
Remember, Harris was one of just three player-invites to the ACC Media Kickoff. Airon Servais, Josh Black and he represented the team. Not Tommy DeVito. Not Garrett Shrader. Not Garrett Williams. Not Mikel Jones. Babers chose Harris to help lead this team. So far, it seems like he’s up to the task. In Charlotte, he said, “Definitely shaping into the leader that I am today took a while…. [I’m] doing a better job helping out the younger guys who came in.” This is the same player who was suspended for a game for making an obscene gesture on television. If Harris does not have a strong season on the field, it will e nearly impossible for him to fulfill the off-field role that Babers orchestrated for him.
Best Case Scenario
The number synonymous with a great season for Harris is 1,000 yards. That might be tough to do when you combine the uncertainty at quarterback with the certain dreadfulness of the offensive line. But the more attainable goals for him is consistency and versatility. The Orange have to be able to rely on him to get open routinely for whoever is throwing him the football. Also, with Johnson gone, Harris might alternate in and out of the slot.
Worst Case Scenario
Harris is one of the most reliable players on the team. He has already seen 10 games of number one cornerbacks in the ACC, and had success. So, there shouldn’t be any substantial fear that Harris will have a down year. He has never missed a game due to injury, so it’s hard to fear bumps and bruises. The worst case scenario for Harris is that Queeley and co. can’t get open, and opposing defenses can throw double teams on Harris.
The importance of a strong season for Taj Harris is higher than ever, but there are two more players on our list. Keep it locked to the Fizz to find out who else makes the cut.
Monday, August 16 – #10 Garrett Shrader
Wednesday, August 18 – #9 Matthew Bergeron
Friday, August 20 – #8 Josh Black
Sunday, August 22 – #7 Anthony Queeley
Tuesday, August 24 – #6 Airon Servais
Thursday, August 26 – #5 Garrett Williams
Saturday, August 28 – #4 Mikel Jones
Monday, August 30 – #3 Taj Harris
Wednesday, September 1 – #2 ?
Friday, September 3 – #1 ?