Opportunity Knocks

Dayall Harris

Three-star wide receiver Dayall Harris has been solidly committed to Ole Miss since February. No drama. No flirting with other schools.


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Not that he hasn't had his questions and concerns.

Playing time is important to Harris, ranked the No. 120 wide receiver in the country by Scout.com. But a few months ago, Ole Miss was stacked at his position, boasting one of the more decorated receivers in the Southeastern Conference, Donte Moncrief, as well as an emerging talent in Laquon Treadwell.

However, Moncrief has since declared for the NFL Draft. Reliable starter Ja-Mes Logan graduated. There's opportunity for a newcomer(s) to step in and make an impact.

"I know there's an open spot now," Harris said. "That was a question when I was talking to the coach. He said (playing time) depends on what Moncrief does. With Moncrief gone, it just means there's an opportunity for me to come in and make a play.

"I'm just working on my size. I got good speed, and my hands are there. I just need good size to step in and be effective right away in the SEC."

The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Harris is accustomed to making plays.


Dayall Harris
Yancy Porter

As a senior, he totaled 42 catches for 564 yards and seven touchdowns. Further, he finished with 1,034 all-purpose yards and was named first team All-State as a returner.

"As a freshman, I'm trying to step on the field as a punt returner, if I don't get that many reps at receiver," Harris said.

Another opportunity.

Five different players returned punts for Ole Miss in 2013-14. Ole Miss averaged a lowly 7.1 yards per return, though the Rebels, who finished 8-5 on the year, did record a touchdown - a 75-yard scamper by Jeff Scott in the team's win at Texas.

Harris feels he could be the answer to what was, for the most part, an unsolvable problem last season.

"We had a talk about it when they came to my house. They asked me if that's what I want to do when I get there. I love punt return. I like to do it. The adrenaline you get. I've been doing it since 10th grade. You've got to have quick eyes, you've got to have a quick mind.

"It took a lot of practice. At first, I was scared to catch it. I was like ‘Coach, how am I going to look up in the air and make sure this man doesn't hit me at the same time.' Once I got comfortable catching it, I actually started practicing all season catching the ball backwards. I practiced my whole senior season catching punts backwards."

Harris will take an official visit to Ole Miss this weekend. Some 25 prospects, both committed and uncommitted, are expected in Oxford, including his teammates, four-star offensive lineman Rod Taylor and four-star defensive lineman Breeland Speaks.

"Both of them, they're really solid," Harris said. "There's really nothing to tell. We talk about what we're going to do and how hard the practices are going to be. But that's it. From the go, all of us said we were going to go to school together above everything."

Doubt surrounds Speaks. He visited LSU, the school he admittedly grew up cheering for, last weekend. The 6-foot-4, 285-pound Speaks is rated the 19th-best defensive tackle by Scout.com.

"He just took an official. He just took a visit," Harris said, seemingly downplaying the threat of Speaks flipping to LSU. "He wanted to see the campus. I don't blame him."

Harris said he and the rest of the visiting Ole Miss commitments will attempt to recruit others to join the class. National Signing Day is but two weeks away, Feb. 5.

"I just tell them this is a great place to be, and I'd love to have them with me," he said. "Anything to help the program. I tell them we have a chance to win a national championship.

"This is really a good year for Ole Miss, the 2014 class. The 2013 class was the class that started it off. The 2014 class, we're going to set it off."


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