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August 8, 2007Two years ago Will Harris was the second rated high school safety prospect in the country and on his way to compete for playing time as a freshman for the top ranked University of Southern California Trojans.
However, a series of knee and ankle injuries ended both his freshman and sophomore seasons before they ever really began.
Truly healthy, Harris now hopes to get on the field any way possible, and with more practices like he had on Wednesday, it will be hard to keep him off.
"My day was basically just working hard and being aggressive," Harris said on Howard Jones Field after practice. "(I was trying to) show off a little and let the coaches know what I can do because I haven't played in two years."
Harris' day included more highs than lows. He welcomed freshman Joe McKnight to major college football with an absolutely devastating hit during the 11-on-11 running scrimmage and he intercepted a Mark Sanchez pass later in practice.
"Like I said, it's been two years," Harris said about the hit on McKnight. "It's been building up and it had to come out some how.
"The shoulder pads make a big difference. It separates people; it separates the men from the boys."
However it was not all good for Harris; after his interception, tight end Dale Thompson came from behind and stripped him of the football.
"I didn't see him at all, it was a good play," he said about the strip. "I just took my lap and came back in here."
For Harris, the most important part of these early practices remain his health and getting back to being the budding college star he was two years ago.
"So far it's going good, health-wise everything is fine," he said. "Basically, I'm just happy to be working hard again."
Harris understands that the starting safety jobs seemed destined to be filled by the trio of Taylor Mays, Kevin Ellison and Josh Pinkard. But he remains positive and confident about his ability to contribute to the team.
"I just have to worry about myself right now," Harris said. "Wherever the coaches want me to fit in (I'll play).
"Yes sir, I will," Harris, when asked if he'll take pride in his special teams duties, authoritatively said. "Most definitely."