MARRERO, La. — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema implied during his signing day news conference in February that linebacker signee De’jon Harris could — in some situations — line up as his quarterback.
“I keep telling him he’s going to be my short-yardage, goal line, red-zone quarterback because he’s a beast at that position in those situations,” Bielema said that day.
And why not? Harris certainly proved that he is capable of making things happen under center during his fantastic senior season at John Ehret High School. The Patriots reached their first state championship game since 1985 with Harris playing quarterback.
Harris played quarterback when he was younger, but hadn’t taken a single snap since his junior high days.
Until, that is, John Ehret’s starting quarterback went down with a season-ending injury. Coach Corey Lambert experimented with several different options — including, sometimes, Harris — early in the season before giving Harris the full reins of his offense in Week 6.
The results were spectacular.
Harris rushed for 1,058 yards and 16 touchdowns while also passing for 495 yards and three scores.
“Playing quarterback was fun because it was my last year of high school,” Harris said, “but I like defense better. It’s funner to me chasing everyone around.”
Still, there’s a good chance he could end up having a role on both sides of the ball in Fayetteville.
“I think he’s gonna start as a freshman on defense and I think he’s gonna be a two-way guy,” Lambert said when asked what he expected out of Harris at the college level.