KEVIN HARRIS – Running Back
Bradwell Institute (Hinesville, GA)
3 stars (according to 247sports, Rivals, & ESPN)
Kevin Harris is the only running commit for the Gamecocks 2019 class currently. He made his commitment back on June 5 after attending one of South Carolina’s camps and receiving an offer from the staff the same day.
At that particular camp, the Bradwell Football Recruiting twitter page reported that Harris ran a 4.56 40-yard dash.
In his 2017 junior season, Harris rushed for 1,680 yards on 285 attempts and 16 rushing touchdowns.
He also has offers from Citadel, Furman, Air Force, Army, Cornell, Middle Tennessee State, Navy, Tulane and Wofford. The Gamecocks were his first Power Five offer and he didn’t take long to accept it.
Taking the report of a 4.56 40 time with a grain of salt, Harris does have some ability to break away from defenses but he does not have elite 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.
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.
Outside of the speed concerns, Harris has some really intriguing qualities to his running style.
First thing that pops out to me are his measurables. 247sports has him listed at 5-11 and 229 pounds. He is a stockier back with good heighth to disperse his weight, and he seems to carry it really well. You can tell from pictures on his twitter account that he hits the weight room hard and works on his physique just as much as the game itself.
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.
Harris is also 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 is good at maintaining balance after taking a hit. One concern, though, is that sometimes he tends to run a little too erect. Against lesser competition in high school he can get away with it and just shed the tackle 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 and taking initial contact from bigger players and not getting stood up.
Kevin seems to read blocks really well and sees the field once he gets past the line of scrimmage. 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 and running style that would really fit an option-type team and when you look at the other teams recruiting him, they help drive that narrative.
But I think even at a school like South Carolina he can have success. As he gets stronger and more acclimated to a college system, he can eventually be a consistent contributor for the Gamecocks. His build says he could be an every down back but he lacks the explosiveness, at least right now, to utilize him outside of a “3 yards and a cloud of dust” role. Don’t get it twisted though, those kind of backs are extremely useful and important to a team’s success in the running game and moving the chains.
Brandon Bennett (5-11, 220)
- Short, stocky build
- Physical player
- Downhill runner
- 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, crazier things have happened. This comparison is just based on physical attributes and abilities.