After watching the Rebel secondary get picked apart for much of the 2016 season, Hugh Freeze and company undoubtedly welcome the arrival of A.J. Harris, the No. 26 player in the state of Alabama and the No. 36 safety in the country. The three-star safety prospect, who committed to the Rebels back in July and never wavered, has officially sent his letter of intent to Ole Miss.
That signature comes despite an impressive offer sheet. Florida State actually offered Harris when he was a freshman in high school, while Tennessee, Michigan, and Louisville were among other quality programs that competed with Ole Miss for Harris’ services. Here’s the scouting report on Harris according to his high school coach, Bob Jones’ Kevin Rose: “The first thing is the speed. Anybody that's clocked at a 4.38 at Auburn - he's over 6 feet tall and has a long wing span. He has a knack for intercepting the ball and making big plays.” Sounds like the kind of playmaker the Rebel secondary desperately needs after recording just eight interceptions in 2016.
How he fits in
With the departures of four Rebel secondary contributors in Tony Connor, Tony Bridges, Kailo Moore and Carlos Davis, Harris’ unique and versatile skill set puts him in a position to compete for early playing time. Harris’ most prized attribute is his speed. He was clocked at 4.38 in the 40-yard dash this summer and ran the 4x100 relay and 100m dash for his high school track team. He’s also 6’0 tall and recorded seven interceptions and 20 pass breakups in his junior season at Bob Jones High School.
If A.J. can get into the weight room and add around 15 lbs. of muscle on his 190 lb. frame, he could potentially fit into the Husky depth chart, which is notably lighter following Connor’s departure.