In case you missed it, there was some kerfluffle in parts of Longhorn Netdom over the last several days over whether or not Desmond Harrison, the athletic JUCO tackle from Contra Costa Community College, would in fact be eligible to enroll at Texas for the second summer session. Doubt had been raised about the transferability of at least one online course, official word from Bellmont was in short supply, and when Harrison wasn't enrolled in class on Monday there was fear that we'd been treated to another Brian Davis Special.
Per Chip Brown on Orangebloods, however, Harrison has in fact cleared any qualification hurdles and is enrolled as of today. So, good news!
In the course of some of the attendant Harrison discussion, though, another concern became apparent - that some Longhorn fans may be projecting slightly unrealistic expectations onto Harrison out of the gate. Or, in the case of the one guy who called Harrison "the second most-important player on the 2013 team", projecting that Harrison will arrive and immediately launch a combination of program salvation and ass-kicking unequaled since the final act of Turkish Rambo.
Is there tape of this young man that we can peruse? There is!
Some things we know after viewing the tape:
- Desmond Harrison has a legitimately exciting size/speed/athleticism combo.
- Desmond Harrison has an admirable mean streak.
- Comets apparently make prairie wind noises from a Sergio Leone Western.
- Desmond Harrison has a willingness to hustle and share aforementioned mean streak with dudes 20 yards downfield.
- Desmond Harrison has an impressive ability to pull around a (possibly theoretical for the 2013 Longhorns) tight end down block and lead the way on edge runs.
- The film guy for Contra Costa CC has a JJ Abrams-caliber love of lens flares.
Some things we still don't know after viewing the tape:
- Whether Desmond Harrison has anything resembling the technique he'll need to throw down mano a mano with Devonte Fields-types on third-and-short in the run game or third-and-long in the pass game.
- Whether Desmond Harrison has the feet (not just the athleticism, but the technique and position-specific agility) to handle speed edge rushers and inside counter moves.
- Whether some of these community college groundskeepers received any training in the landscaping arts. I hope those dudes are handing out some Charles Dutton-caliber advice to the Rudy's of JUCO, because some of those fields look baaaaad.
- Whether Desmond Harrison has experience running the kind of combo/climb-to-the-second level blocks that are crucial to a team heavily featuring the Inside Zone play in the run game.
- Whether the stocky white kid who Harrison pancakes at the 1:55 mark is, in fact, the Rudy of JUCO.
- Whether Desmond Harrison has the acumen to pick up all of our protections - quickly - to avoid being a liability in blitz pickup against devious minds like Gary Patterson and the Purple Wizard.
- In short, whether Desmond Harrison can be a more effective 2013 LT than the less-athletic-but-vastly-more-experienced-in-bigtime-D1-ball Donald Hawkins.
There's nothing in his (limited, kinda grainy) tape to prove that he CAN'T do these things, but there's precious little to prove that he CAN - at least not starting on August 31, 2013. The sky may be the limit, but his effective floor is a real unknown.
If he shows up and is basically Matt Kalil, awesome. If he's not, and needs time to hone his technique and gain experience and just gives us solid depth this year - or hell, even redshirts - don't get down on him. Or even, for that matter, assume that Searels has somehow f'd up. There's just a ton you don't know about a guy until he's lining up in the scheme he's going to play in against the caliber of competition he's going to face.
But the fact that we'll get to start learning the answers to those questions in August is definitely good news.