Paul Harris - By John Hadden
The 2013 signing class is laden with great looking prospects at the wide receiver position. Thus, there is optimism that the air attack next season will be productive yet again, despite the losses of Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson. But with all this young talent, who will have the most impact in 2013?
Most will say Marquez North is the safe choice. However, the freshman who'll have the most impact is already on campus. Paul Harris is the name that jumps off the page to me. He has all the skills: speed, a long frame and great hands. In fact, in many ways, his skill set is much like that of Hunter's.
Despite looking the part, comparisons don’t make players productive, so here are a few facts that I believe make Harris the leading candidate from most impact as a freshman. First, Harris stands at 6-foot-4, 190 lbs and runs a 4.5 40-yard sprint.
But just having the size doesn’t make you great. Harris compliments that by being a sharp route runner. Coming out of cuts low and quick allows Harris to be that much more of a threat and will allow coaches to trust him to be where he needs to be.
Second, in a short amount of time on campus, Harris has shown the new staff that he has an incredible work ethic. New wide receiver coach Zach Azzani even joked at a signing day celebration that Harris told him he wants to win the Biletnikoff award (an award given to the best wide receiver in college football). This type of work ethic is rare and to couple it with size and talent is even more rare and will in turn allow him to see the field quicker.
Finally, what make Harris the most elite freshman is the amount of time that he has to learn the new system. Harris was an early enrollee, which means he graduated high school early in order to enroll in college for the spring semester. He will have the ability to go through winter work outs, read play books, do extra work with quarterbacks and go through spring practice.
The familiarity with the system will allow Harris more reps in the fall and will put coaches in a position to call his number more. As a result, look for Paul Harris to be the most productive freshman on The Hill next fall as he continues the great tradition of Wide Receiver U.
Marquez North - By Peter Murray
There’s no question that Paul Harris is a great athlete. He was a three star recruit coming out of high school and it definitely helps that he’s already on campus working towards starting in the fall.
But everything that Harris has, Marquez North also has, but enhanced. He can also catch, run routes and is a speedster off the line. He’s also just as tall at 6-foot-3, and outweighs Harris by over 30 pounds, weighing 225 pounds. That jumps off the page.
When you consider that North is only a freshman, and yet he has the frame and size of a NFL athlete. That will become a major factor in Butch Jones' decision process.
Before you look at who’s going to start out wide, you have to remember that the Volunteers will be starting a new quarterback this fall, whether it be Justin Worley, Nathan Peterman, or one of the incoming freshmen Riley Ferguson or Joshua Dobbs.
Inevitably, the Tennessee coaching staff will probably be looking to run the ball more this season in order to take pressure off the new man under center. That means Jones will probably want someone that can block on the outside giving running backs Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane more room to make something happen.
North is by far the biggest receiver the Vols have and will immediately get a chance to start.
Another factor to consider is that North was arguably the biggest signee the Vols had in this past recruiting class. Fans of the Big Orange will want to see this phenomenal athlete on the field as soon as possible, and that will resonate with the coaching staff.
Harris may want to win the Biletnikoff, but odds are North has more chances to make a name for himself early on based purely on natural ability, talent and potential.