Iowa went the super-young route in recruiting last year when it landed Reggie Spearman, who didn't turn 17 until Iowa's training camp started in August.
Spearman ended up see a lot of time in third-down pass-rushing packages and is in line for a shot as starter at weakside linebacker this fall.
Terrance Harris isn't super young like Spearman, but is young for his grade. He won't turn 18 until Aug. 2. The 6-3 (or 6-1, measurements have varied), 250-pounder has steadily climbed rungs on the ladder in his career. As a defensive tackle for Paramus (New Jersey) Catholic last season, Harris made 10 sacks and 80 tackles.
"I feel like not many people choose Iowa because it’s not really that well known," Harris told Northjersey.com . "But it’s a lot like PC — we weren’t really known, and now everybody wants to be like us. Being the underdog isn’t always a bad thing."
Harris transferred from St. Joseph to Paramus Catholic after his freshman year. His sophomore year he was at Paramus Catholic, but didn’t play.
"I didn’t really care as much about football as I do now," Harris said.
Harris had offers from Florida Atlantic, Massachusetts and Western Michigan.
Iowa assistant Chris White secured a commitment from Harris before he visited Iowa City. Harris was one of at least six or seven White was credited with recruiting or assisting in recruiting in the '14 class.
“He’s a great guy,” Harris told HawkeyeReport.com, speaking on White. “You can tell he really cares. Family is a big part of his life and it’s a big part of mine too, so the level of respect that we have for each other is great.”
As a junior, Harris racked up 78 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, and 7.5 sacks while helping Paramus Catholic to a 10-2 record and the NJSIAA Non-Public Group 4 title. Iowa has a recent history of pumping out NFL-caliber D-linemen. That didn't hurt here, either.
Four Paramus players signed with BCS schools, including two with the University of Michigan.
Basics: Paramus Catholic High School (Englewood, N.J.), 6-3, 250, defensive end
Dent the depth chart in ’14? — No. Iowa is good on inside D-linemen for 2014, with seniors Carl Davis and Louis Trinca-Pasat entrenched. Unless he has something uncommon, Harris will need some time in a college strength and condition program to ready his body for inside D-line.
Off-the-top-of-my-head Hawkeye comparison — Mike Daniels (if DT) or Broderick Binns (if DE)
ESPN.com scouting snippet -- This guy is a tough customer with a "no quit" motor; displays the strong wrap tackling ability which causes fumbles while not allowing cheap yards after contact. . . . Harris' ability to run and chase down the football suggests special team's potential. Some time and a red shirt year will be necessary to improve playing strength while polishing technique.
What Iowa said . . .
Head coach Kirk Ferentz on White finding and securing commitments from the east -- "The thing about Terrence . . . talked to two separate people that have first-hand experience with Don Bosco High School [a rival high school in the same NJ conference] out there. They know about Terrence as a player. Both of them volunteered how impressed they were. One guy coaches out there, and the alum is a pro personnel guy, NFL personnel guy. I respect his opinion. So it's nice reinforcement. You hear people like that say this guy's a good player, credit to Chris there for identifying him, being involved and getting those guys interested in our program."
Iowa recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson on where Harris begins his career: “He is a defensive end. He's probably a little undersized from a height standpoint, but he's a strong guy at the point of attack. He can run. You'll see him chase plays down from the backside. Bigger guys don't like to leave their feet. He's one of those guys who'll lay out and leave his feet. He was a guy we felt strongly about. He was an early offer guy. We think we he and Matt Nelson, we feel we have some good defensive ends."
What I think (FWIW, obviously) . . .
Harris runs through blocks. He never stops moving his feet. If DL coach Reese Morgan doesn't have to remind his to move his feet through contact, that's a pretty big deal. Harris also showed that he's aware of the importance of keeping his outside arm free and backside pursuit discipline. He's been coached well and he's listened.
I'm not sure you can automatically push Harris to DT, even though he's already 250 and is 6-1 or 6-2 or 6-3. Yes, that does seem like a DT starter kit. Mike Daniels is only about 6-1. Trinca-Pasat is only about 6-1. They not only survived, but thrived, and are still thriving on their collective levels. If Harris grows, he could be a 285-pounder and a DT. If he gets to be 270 and keeps his quickness, Iowa might have a pass rusher with speed and power, something that every team needs.
I talked to Johnson, who also assists on the D-line, if a speed rush was the last thing that needed to drop for the 2014 D-line.
"It goes into pass rush, but with the way spread offense are and the way we play defense," Johnson said, "as a defensive end, you have to be able to play the tackle and then be a half-man back on the quarterback. So, we've got to squeeze down and then be able to react back out. The game that everyone saw that in was the Georgia Tech game [the 2010 Orange Bowl]. We were able to play the whole game without having to bring extra guys down into the box because of the athleticism we had on the D-line. So, we're always looking for that athleticism."
Opinions on sacks (this is something that Scott and I have been saying on the podcast for a couple of years: "Everybody wants sacks. They're hard in any defense when you're rushing four, no matter what anyone says. You want to get pressure on the QB, but it's hard to create sacks, especially when you look at offenses now. Those balls are getting thrown in like two seconds. You could have Deion Sanders coming off the edge, that ball is probably coming out before he gets hit. That's something not everyone pays attention to. . . . We're looking for athleticism and we're trying to get as much of it as we can out there."
Iowa had a decent 2013 in sacks with 24. The Hawkeyes scored 42 TDs. Sacks are tougher than TDs. It's time to calculate a disruption number and to pay closer attention to QB Hurries.