As we’ve done in years past, we’re going to start up our Roster Countdown series of posts as we get ready for the regular season.
Background: Harrison (affectionately known as “Big Snacks“) has had a circuitous route to football, but the fact that he’s made it to the Jets shows that it’s paying off. In junior high, Harrison was cut by his team twice and winded up giving up on the game and focusing on basketball until his senior year. Knowing his history with the game, his coaches tried to encourage him to quit, but he never did and was eventually named the MVP for the offense and defense of his team. Since he was a senior at the time, there was almost no recruitment of him and he ended up grayshirting a season for coach Steve Miller at Northwest Mississippi Community College. It didn’t go well with little football experience and he gave up again. In 2008, Miller got an assistant coaching job at William Penn, and Harrison decided to give it one more chance. As a freshman in 2008, Harrison finished fifth on the team in tackles, as a sophomore and junior, Harrison was voted second-team all-conference and as a senior, every NFL team sent scouts to the school as Harrison earned first-team all-conference after accruing 3.5 sacks with 8.5 tackles for loss along with a team-high 60 tackles. Harrison has the size and mass coupled with strong hands that allow him to push a pocket … a combination that defensive coaches love to see. Last year, Harrison latched on with the Jets as an undrafted player among a weak defensive tackle class and appeared in five games playing fundamentally well against the run.
2013 Projection: Harrison made the team last year as a rookie and this summer will be about how much progress has he made in a year’s time. The Jets invested last season into Harrison and while he saw some time on the field, this year is going to be about how he can contribute to the team. With Kenrick Ellis ascending to the starting nose tackle, the team is going to need a backup nose and based on the current roster that job seems to be earmarked for Harrison. While there might be some concerns about the additions the team made with Antonio Garay and Sheldon Richardson, I would expect they will replace the roster spots of Pouha and DeVito. Should he made the 2013 team, in addition to special teams work, Harrison will likely see time late in games when Ellis needs a break or is forced to the sidelines.