The Florida Gators football team received wonderful news from one of the best players on the roster. Star safety Marcell Harris will return for his senior season.
The injuries sustained by the Florida Gators football team in 2016 were both a blessing and a curse. The curse is that, with eight starters sidelined by injuries, the team’s championship aspirations inevitably suffered.
The blessing is that unsung heroes were tasked with establishing themselves as both immediately valuable contributors and future stars.
No player benefited more from the unexpected opportunity to play big minutes than safety Marcell Harris. He stepped in for the injured Nick Washington and the departed Keanu Neal, and made an immediate impact.
Though there was legitimate NFL Draft hype, Harris opted to finish what he started and return for his senior season in 2017.
That’s wonderful news for Jim McElwain and the Gators.
Florida was in line to lose three legitimate stars in the secondary to the NFL Draft. Cornerbacks Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson are projected first-round draft picks, and Harris was garnering hype as a potential early-round pick.
With a chance to create an even stronger legacy than he already has, however, Harris has opted to return to Gainesville for another season. Bringing Harris back will be of great aid to the Gators’ championship aspirations in 2017. The defense is losing a number of key players, including Caleb Brantley, Jarrad Davis, Joey Ivie, Tabor, and Wilson, and will need all the help it can get to sustain those losses.
Bringing Harris back should help the secondary, which projects to utilize a number of inexperienced player next season.
Harris’ return comes on the heels of a similar announcement by star nickelback Duke Dawson. It’s Harris, however, who is the most established returning defensive back on the roster.
Harris led all Florida players with 73 tackles in 2016, and added 4.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, two interceptions, and a forced fumble.
It would’ve been impossible to fault Harris had he chosen to test the NFL waters, but he’ll be back with a national championship in his sights in 2017.