Taggart: Freshman Harris ready to help at LB
TAMPA -- With starting linebacker Reshard Cliett doubtful for Saturday's home game against Florida Atlantic, USF coach Willie Taggart said he's confident in what true freshman Nigel Harris can do if he's pressed into a major role on the Bulls' defense.
"When the guy has consistently shown he can take what you teach him in the meeting room and take it on the football field and help you execute, then the kid has a chance to play," Taggart said. "Nigel has shown us he can do the things we ask him to do. He's played in some ballgames now, so he sees what it's like to play at this level. Nigel's a football player. He's not the biggest, as of yet, but he's a tough kid and I think he'll do well."
Harris, 6-foot and 190 pounds, shined at Hillsborough High, and showed enough in August that coaches made him their No. 2 weakside linebacker, ahead of many more experienced players. He has four tackles in two games in those two games, and could get that quickly Saturday if Cliett's shoulder isn't fully healed.
THIS AND THAT: Taggart said he'll stick with cornerback Kenneth Durden as his punt returner, despite his fielding two punts inside his 10-yard line and costing the team from a field-position standpoint. "We worked really, really hard on making great decisions back there, and I think Kenneth will do a great job for us," Taggart said. ... USF added eight walk-ons to its roster, including former Tarpon Springs kicker Michael Hill, who sat out last season after transferring from Oklahoma, where he spent the 2011 season as a preferrred walk-on. ... USF has 10 players from Georgia on its roster, including starters like linebacker DeDe Lattimore, Cliett and Durden. "I think there's really good football there," Taggart said. "For us, we're going to recruit here in the state, but if we feel like there are good ballplayers in Georgia that can help us win football games and fit what we're trying to do, we'll go there, too."