FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Twenty-two minutes after midnight (CT) Sunday morning, Arkansas freshman linebacker De’Jon Harris sent out the following tweet.
Have to stop playing now and grow up mentally and physically!
— Goatyy8!☄ (@Scoooota8) October 9, 2016
No holes in that theory.
Harris likely will make his first career start next weekend against Ole Miss. He replaces weakside linebacker Dre Greenlaw, who suffered what appears to be a season-ending foot injury during the Razorbacks’ 49-30 loss Saturday to Alabama.
The true freshman from the New Orleans area was expected to be a factor this season, but so far hadn’t played many defensive snaps. Of course, to be fair, no linebackers outside of Greenlaw and senior Brooks Ellis have played very many defensive snaps this season.
Harris emerged late in fall camp as the Hogs’ clear No. 3 linebacker, but the fact that he so rarely played only served to highlight the gap between the two starters and the backups.
Now, Harris — a former star at John Ehret High School — is going to be part of what Arkansas fans certainly hope is an improving defense. The Hogs have allowed more than 500 yards of total offense three times this season.
During his senior season last year at John Ehret, coaches inserted Harris into the quarterback role midway through the season, in addition to his linebacker duties. All Harris did was lead the school to its first state championship game appearance since 1985.
Harris is known and usually referred to by his nickname “Scoota,” given to him by his mother because he always scooted around the floor as a toddler.
“I know he has a lot of good things in front of him and a very bright future,” Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said of Harris after the Alabama loss.
For the Hogs, that future is now.