Terrible news coming out of Gainesville on Thursday. Florida Gators redshirt senior safety Marcell Harris suffered a torn achillies tendon, which will have him miss the entire 2017 campaign. The injury occurred when he was participating in team conditioning activities.
Harris was considered one of the leaders on the defensive side of the ball and was going to be a key factor for the team looking for it’s third straight SEC East title. Last season he played in all 13 games, and started eight at the safety position. Last season he had a total of 72 tackles, four tackles for a loss, one sack, two INTs, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
With the team suffering from attrition in the defensive backfield, Harris was supposed to be a veteran player to help lead the defense. Not so much anymore.
The Florida Gators athletic site, posted a quote from Gators HC Jim McElwain about the Harris injury. Here is what he had to say:
“As a coach this is one of the hardest things you are faced with,” Head Coach Jim McElwain said. “Here is a kid who has made great personal growth during his time here and has really matured both on and off the field. It is tough to see a player invest so much in himself and his teammates and have this happen, but I do know that we will support him every step of the way as he works through this injury.”
Being that Harris is already a red shirt senior, he will have to file for an injury red shirt in order to be given a sixth season. Given his injury occurred before he played a down and during team conditioning exercises, he should be granted that sixth year.
With Harris sidelined for 2017, it looks like Jeawon Taylor, who earned the back up to Harris in the Spring will have to step in and replace his teammate. Also expect some shifts from McElwain during Fall camp as the loss of Harris leaves a major hole in their defensive back field. This injury will show the type of depth this program has, considering he was such a major piece to this defense.