Missouri standout defensive end Charles Harris, who leads the SEC with 15.5 tackles for loss, recently shut down any NFL draft talk surrounding his name.
The redshirt sophomore will be eligible for next April’s draft, but Harris told reporters on Sunday that he will be back in 2016. “It’s not even a choice because I feel like I’m obligated to stay. I feel like I owe Mizzou fans, staff and team another year,” Harris said, according to David Morrison of the Columbia Daily Tribune.
Harris also added: “I feel like I owe Harold Brantley, I feel like I owe him another year. Just because I never balled out with him. … I just feel like once he comes back and me and him dominate the league, then I can look at the next level. But I’ve got to be great here first.”
Brantley, a junior defensive end, was redshirted this season due to injuries sustained in a car accident during the summer. As a sophomore, Brantley racked up 54 tackles, seven tackles for loss and five sacks playing behind All-SEC selections Shane Ray and Markus Golden.
Defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski isn’t too worried about the rapidly improving Harris bolting for the NFL.
“Coach Kool” has produced players like Justin Smith, Aldon Smith, Sheldon Richardson and Michael Sam, in addition to Ray and Golden, who were first- and second-round picks, respectively, in this year’s draft.
“There is no danger in anyone getting too good, too fast,” Kuligowski told Morrison and other reporters Sunday. “It can never happen. This is a one-year business, man. We think down the road. Trust me. We plan for down the road. But if you don’t plan for day-to-day, you’re going to be in trouble.”
If Harris does indeed return for his junior year, it’s opposing quarterbacks who could be in the most trouble.