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Friday, May 17, 2013
Burnt Orange Breakdown: John Harris

By Carter Strickland

During the summer, HornsNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Texas roster -- excluding the Longhorns' 2013 recruiting class -- in our Burnt Orange Breakdown series. Starting with No. 1 Mike Davis, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 99 Desmond Jackson.

No. 9 John Harris
Junior wide receiver

Expectations for 2013: Harris was the star of the spring game for Texas and appears to be poised for a breakout season. But, a word of caution, players -- DeSean Hales, for example -- have had breakout spring performances before only to go missing again in the fall. Harris might be different though. For one thing Texas needs him. The Longhorns are severely depleted at the wide receiver position and need third and fourth receivers to step up in what is supposed to be a more wide-open offense. Harris could be one of those players. He has size, good hands and is not afraid to go up and get the ball. While not the fastest or most elusive receiver, Harris can be a reliable target for quarterback David Ash.

Best-case scenario in 2013: Harris could become the third receiver in the passing game. And that would mean somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 catches. To reach that number of receptions, he would have to edge out sophomore Cayleb Jones and possibly Kendall Sanders as well. But given that neither of the aforementioned played in the spring game and both are just sophomores there is a chance that might happen. Harris also could prove to be a valuable blocker in the running game. He does have a big body and can get out and help create lanes for running backs on sweep plays or even screen passes.

Worst-case scenario in 2013: It appeared as if Harris would be a larger part of the attack prior to the 2012 season. He had a solid fall and was a go-to target inside the 20-yard line during practice. But he was lost in the shuffle as the season started. If Harris once again comes up short when the lights come on it could severely hamper what Texas wants to do in the passing game. The Longhorns have to have Harris because they need that quality depth at wide receiver.

Future expectations: This is a make-or-break year for Harris. If he does not become a productive member of the wide receiving corps as a junior it is doubtful that he will rise up as a senior. Texas has too many younger receivers coming into the fold and it is rare that a player breaks out in his senior year.