Every once in a while, a player comes into my vision that I can immediately see is meant to play the game of full contact American football. Connor Harris (@connorharris16) is one of these almost rare occurrences. This young man not only brings his lunch pail every day to football activities, he brings a lunch like the Emilio Estevez character Andrew Clark in the 80s movie The Breakfast Club!
Some names come to mind when I watch the limited available film on Harris: Chris Spielman, Zach Thomas and Chris Borland to name a few. What all these players have in common is that they were all too undersized to play in the middle of an NFL defense, at least that’s what some experts claimed, but they all ended up blowing up ball carriers in the pros. In my humble opinion, Mr. Harris will follow in these underrated, but great, linebacker footsteps in the NFL.
Connor was a monster among beasts in his pursuit of becoming the NCAA All-Division record holder with 633 career tackles. I underlined that for a reason. SO, if you need a deep IDP linebacker who will get you a lot of points in the future and can’t decide, I hope you will remember that underlined sentence here. Mr. Harris also achieved first-team All-American and the “2016 Cliff Harris Award” honors as the top defender in Divisions II, III and NAIA – and he became a three-time first-team All-Midwest Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) pick.
Connor Harris’ IDP numbers from his time at Lindenwood:
- True Freshman: 126 tackles, 8 for loss, 4 pass breakups
- Redshirt (shoulder inj.): 33 tackles in three games
- Sophomore: 152 tackles, 4.5 TFL, two interceptions
- Junior: 184 tackles, 12.5 for loss, and 7 pass breakups
- Senior: 138 stops, 8.5 TFL, 2 Interceptions, returning 1 for a score
*Harris also served as a running back and a punter on several occasions.
I’ll just start with his biggest positive for all of us IDP maniacs: I really think Harris can be a 3-down middle/inside linebacker in the pros. His tackle appetite is on the same level with his film study. The passion is there from every aspect. From the limited film I saw I really liked when he finished what he started and “bodied up” when tackling and really was around the ball on almost every play, reminiscent of Ravens safety Eric Weddle. Another aspect of his game I like is when he gets out in front of lineman to read his keys better when they are in full motion.
I could go the easy scout way and say, “He’s too small and stubby” and “He will have a hard time getting bigger lineman off him,” but I don’t buy it. All I see is that he is maybe a tad quicker than he is flat-out fast. The only thing holding Connor back is the typical speed of the pro game and finding that edge to go and run with pro speedy running backs and some faster tight ends. I think he will correct that with pro snaps.
NFL Comparisons: Sean Lee, Chris Borland, Zach Thomas.
If you’re an older gentleman like myself and maybe owned Zach Thomas back in the early IDP days, then you know how that “Monster” can win you a game. Once Mr. Harris gets the speed of the NFL down, I believe he could get you 8 to 12 tackles a week while in a 3-down role. So, whoever is reading this and gives a rat’s patootie, wait until the later rounds in your IDP drafts and grab this kid and stash him on your taxi squad and let him marinate and carry weight. When he is unleashed I think he will blow-up!
I had the honor of interviewing Connor as I was writing this and it was an amazing experience because I just love the players, and hell, people in general, who have that chip on their shoulders and come through any odds set in front of them. Connor is one who will PREVAIL! That interview will be available soon here at DFF, so stay tuned!
Always Remember, IF IT’S NOT #IDP, THEN IT’S FANTASY FOOTBALL FOR BEGINNERS!
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