Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The best running back nobody is talking about

My favorite photo of Montel Harris as a Temple Owl, sharing a moment
of respect with Army linebacker and captain Nate Coombs after going for
351 yards and seven touchdowns in a 63-32 win.


My favorite Montel Harris moment this year had nothing to do with what he did during a game, but it had a lot to do with what he did on the field.
After the Army game, both Montel  and Army linebacker Nate Coombs shared a few words after Temple's 63-32 win at Michie Stadium.
Draft expert Matt Waldman was talking about Harris.

After it was over, Montel and Nate shook hands, laughed and walked off the field.
That's what sports is all about. It was a great sportsmanship moment between a future NFL player and a guy who is going to put it all on the line for our country.
We can only imagine what Nate told Montel, but we can guess it went something like this:
"Man, I tried to tackle you, but it was like tackling air out there."
After a fairly good performance in the recent NFL combine, draft expert Matt Waldman called Montel "the best running back nobody is talking about."
The thing the combine can't measure is start/stop ability and Harris is the best I've ever seen 

I think they will be talking about him on draft day.
Last year, I predicted Bernard Pierce would go in the third round. I think Harris goes in the sixth, no lower than the seventh.

How Harris and Pierce compared at the NFL combine:


40 time
Bench Reps
Vertical Jump
Montel Harris
4.68
19 (at 225 pounds)
32.5 inches
Bernard Pierce
4.49
17 (at 225 pounds)
36.5 inches

How Harris and Pierce did in best single season:


Carries
Yards
Longest Run
Montel Harris (2009)
308
1,457
72 yards
Bernard Pierce (2011)
273
1,481
69 yards


After watching Harris last year and Pierce the three years before that, the difference is simply this:
Pierce is faster and can do more damage on the outside but Harris is much better between tackles and starting and stopping to get out of trouble.
The only reason Harris drops three or so rounds below Pierce will be his knee injury history, but his knee held up pretty well at Temple despite the workload.
To me, the combine numbers are nowhere near as important as these numbers:


Career Carries
Career Yards
Average  (2012)
Career Long
Career
TDs
Montel Harris
973
4,379
5.7
72
39
Le’Veon Bell
671
3,346
4.7
69
31
Montee Ball
924
5,140
5.1
67
77
Ray Graham
595
3,271
4.1
78
32
Gio Bernard
423
2,481
6.7
68
25
Jawan Jamison
486
1,972
4.2
64
13

To me, what you do on the field is a lot more important than what you can do at the combine and Harris' numbers stack up very well against some of the top running backs in the group above.
Remember, Harris never fumbles while Eagles' seventh-round pick Bryce Brown fumbled a lot. You can gain all the yards in the world and have all the speed and the vertical leap and bench press, but if the ball ends up in the hands of the other team after the play is over you are worthless.
How cool would it be for Montel Harris to introduce himself on Sunday or Monday night football by saying, "Montel Harris, Temple Football Forever"
That's another metric that can't be measured at a combine.

How cool would it be for Montel Harris to introduce himself on Sunday or Monday night football by saying, "Montel Harris, Temple Football Forever."
Heck, if Mo Wilkerson or Bernard Pierce beat him to the punch, that would be cool, too.

Whatever questions that some may have had about his character were answered with a season as a solid citizen and terrific teammate at Temple.
I wish him all the best.
My guess is that Army's Nate Coombs does, too.

9 comments:

tu2acc said...

TFF, obviously the combine results matter because of all the times a RB runs 40 yards in a straight line with no equipment, no ball and no one chasing him. He will also be called on to broad jump on 3rd and short. Fortunately, it seems that fans and journalists are the ones who get caught up in combine numbers, most GM's do not. Hopefully, Montel goes to an NFL team where he will get the opportunity to shine the way BP did.

Temple Football Forever said...

yeah, selfishly, I'd love to see him play for the Eagles. He's soooo much better than Bryce Brown and Deon Lewis.

Kent Duke said...

well now, it seems all but done. We worked hard to get into the Big East, then everybody left the conference, now the renegades to the brand name.

what's left is anybody's guess

Temple Football Forever said...

Makes no sense to give them the Big East name. They have no legal claim to it. If they bought it, it should be $5 million each to Temple and every other all-sports school.
Nothing less.

MassOwl82 said...

Absolutely. Make it $10 Million. What "legal" right do five founding members of the league have, anyway? Houston, Larry Brown and East Carolina have earned that Big East name.

Temple Football Forever said...

No legal right since THEY are the ones leaving.
If they stayed and Temple left, they'd have all the legal right in the world.

MassOwl82 said...

Right. Punish the long abused for not having the good sense to leave earlier. Logical thinking.

Temple Football Forever said...

Abusers, not abused. If the BE took the billion dollar offer on the table when they had a chance, Pitt and Cuse would have never left.
Not only did they leave that on the table, they came up with the idiotic notion that Villanova join playing in an 18K soccer stadium.
It was only then first WVA, then PItt and 'Cuse, said "we're outta here."

CleanDIRT 's Comeback Page said...

I say give (sell) them the name, the Big East name no longer has any cachet in football (if it ever did). A fresh start is what the football playing teams deserve. I'm tired of all of the Big Least jokes, even though I'll admit to making them before they invited the Owls back in the fold.