by Austin Silvey @SilveyESP
Kevin Harris was the only running back commit for the Gamecocks 2019 class. He made his commitment back on June 5, 2018 after attending one of South Carolina’s camps and receiving an offer from the staff the same day.
According to his 247sports recruiting profile, Harris ran a 4.55 back in March of 2018 and at a SC camp in June 2018, he ran a 4.56 40-yard dash according to the Bradwell Football Recruiting twitter page.
Taking the report of a 4.56 40 time with a grain of salt, Harris does have some breakaway speed, but lacks elite agility and short area quickness. Once he breaks into the open field and is afforded the chance to build up speed, he is hard to catch because of his lengthy strides. But it does take him longer to reach his peak speed. His long strides, when running, assist him in running away from slower defenders but may not have that same success against better athletes on the college level.
The first thing that popped out to me were his measurables. South Carolina has him listed at 5-10 and 235 pounds. He is a stockier back with good height to disperse his weight, and he carries it really well.
Next thing that sticks out to me in his film is how he takes care of the ball when he runs. He keeps the ball tucked close to the body but also knows when to switch hands based on the side of the field he is running on and where the defense is. If he is running straight into a couple of defenders, he holds the ball with both hands and keeps it close to the chest, making it difficult for defenders to try and strip him of it.
He also developed really solid hands in pass catching. His senior film showed multiple plays where he snagged balls in tight coverage. A guy his size isn't typically known for pass-catching ability so this development in his game is exciting to see.
Harris is a tough runner and isn’t afraid of contact. He does a tremendous job at deflecting initial contact and making guys over pursue him or just miss altogether. He has a strong center of gravity and displays good contact balance.
One concern, though, is that sometimes he runs a little too erect. Against lesser competition in high school he can get away with this and just shed the tackler but against bigger and stronger athletes in college he may not get the same results. He needs to be a little more consistent in running with a slight tilt forward for momentum so when he takes on initial contact from bigger players he doesn't get stood up and stopped in his tracks.
Harris seems to read blocks really well and displays good field vision. He is always looking for an opening and he isn’t afraid to hit it once he sees one.
Overall, Harris definitely has some potential on the next level with some technical refining and physical training, which all comes with time in the program. He has the body type of an every down running back but his development in blocking and other areas of his game will determine how much he actually sees the field.
As he gets stronger and more acclimated to a college system, I believe he can eventually be a consistent contributor for the Gamecocks. With as muddy as the Gamecocks current running back group is (**alongside recent transfer from Clemson, Tavien Feaster), he may have the chance to breakout in style this coming season.
PLAYER COMP: Brandon Bennett (5-11, 220)
Short, stocky build
Averaged a career 4.5 yards per carry
Ran for 3,055 total yards (second only to George Rogers)
Led Gamecocks in rushing every year and never averaged less than 4.3 ypc
*This is not to say I think Harris will become the same player that Bennett was for Carolina, although, I won't rule it out either.