We did this last week with the San Francisco 49ers first-round pick Nick Bosa. Today, it’s time to learn more about rookie CB Tim Harris. Caroline Darney of Streaking the Lawn is here to help fill us in on the athletic cornerback from Virginia.
1) If Harris didn’t have his injury history, where would he have been drafted?
Caroline: This is an outstanding question, and I’m not entirely sure! Harris came to Virginia as a local guy from Richmond (Varina HS) and was a four-star ESPN/Rivals.com prospect. He improved year over year until the back-to-back injury issues in 2016 and 2017, but I’m not sure he improves as much as he does if not for the adversity faced in the injury. Harris worked so incredibly hard after those two seasons he had cut short, and that hard work paid off. I think he performed better in his final season than the sixth round pick indicates, but hesitation around injury history will do that. Just on performance, I’d put him closer to the late-third to mid-fourth range (that could be the total UVA homer in me, though)? Virginia’s secondary as a whole -- especially Juan Thornhill and Bryce Hall -- was outstanding last season. Harris was a huge part of that.
2) What is your most fond memory of Harris?
It may seem weird, but my favorite Tim Harris moment came in the final game of his career at Virginia as the Hoos dominated South Carolina, 28-0, in the Belk Bowl. Harris not only had a pick in the game, but had a perfect pass break up in the end zone to keep the shutout alive (21 second mark of this video). Harris had some struggles early in his career getting beat off the line and giving up plays exactly like this, so I just love it as a way to cap off his tumultuous and trying career. It may not seem like a huge play, but just what it meant as a fan who had followed his career...it was a heartwarming moment for me.
3) What’s something UVA fans might know about Harris that us 49ers fans wouldn’t know?
Tim Harris has a really strong network of good DBs in the league! He played alongside Maurice Canady (who is now a cornerback with the Baltimore Ravens) in high school and college, and is close friends with Ant Harris (safety with the Minnesota Vikings) from their time at Virginia. Additionally, he met Richard Sherman (who I think you’re familiar with...haha) at a youth football camp in Richmond.
4) What’s one area Harris needs to improve the most if he wants to see the field for the Niners?
I’d love to see his speed and quickness off the line improve. At 6’1”, 205, he’s not the tallest out there, but he’s strong and physical. He posted a vertical jump of 39” at the UVA Pro Day, so not too shabby.
5) What’s it say about his character to be able to fight through what he has and still get drafted?
This kid just does not quit. It’s tough enough after one season-ending injury, but to get your waiver, come back, and play not even ONE full game before suffering ANOTHER season-ending injury? That’s brutal. Not only did he not give up, but he came back stronger and better than he was at the end of his junior season. His final year in Charlottesville (with a new coaching staff, mind you) was his best of his career as he hit career-highs in tackles and interceptions.
6) Harris will contribute for the 49ers because he ___?
Will never stop working hard. That sounds so cheesy, yes, but he has the drive to keep working until he gets the job done. He’s the type of player that will use the resources available to him, including learning from current players and working hard with trainers and coaches. Couldn’t be happier for Tim, and I hope he crushes it for you guys.