ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Sometimes good things happen to those who wait.
That could be said for Drake Harris, who enrolled early at Michgan despite missing his entire senior season due to an ongoing hamstring injury.
While he wasn’t able to suit up for Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian, he is close to “100-percent” said Michigan coach Brady Hoke, who also noted that he should be ready by spring practice.
“Physically he’s improved,” Hoke said. “He’s doing more and more. We ran yesterday and he’s feeling more 100-percent all the time.
“I think he handled (the injury) pretty well. I mean, I don’t think he liked missing football, missing games, being hurt. I don’t think anybody really enjoys that. But he honestly -- he’s ready to play football again. You know, he’s excited.”
At 6-foot-3, 170-pounds, Harris could be the downfield wide receiver the Wolverine offense has lacked under Hoke. He is known for his elite leaping ability and ability to go get the ball from his opponent.
“Drake is obviously coming back off that injury,” said first year offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, who also recruited Harris when he was at Alabama. ”So he is still nursing it along. I was really, really excited watching his junior high school film. We recruited him at Alabama. I remember watching him and saying ‘wow, what a phenomenal player.’“
Harris, who was one time a Michigan State basketball commit, decided to flip his commitment to Michigan last April when he deiced to focus his talent strictly on football, said director of player personal Chris Singletary.
“ ‘We got a shot now. We got a real shot,’” said Singletary, when asked on his initial reaction when Harris decommitted from MSU. “Now that he has decided to solely focus on football. Now if he was open minded, which he was, then ‘OK’ now we can show him why this makes sense to be a football player full time. And why more so a football player at Michigan. A student athlete at Michigan. And he saw it. Him and his family.”
Rated a four-star prospect and the No. 8 WR in the final Scout.com player rankings, Harris’ skill set is what separates him from the rest of the receivers in this year’s class, said wide receiver coach Jeff Hecklinski.
“Drake being a basketball guy,” Hecklinski said. “Obviously, he’s got a different skill set then all the other guys. He’s got very fluid movements and very natural ball skills to go get it.”
As far as Harris’ role in Michigan’s offense, Hecklinski said he sees Harris playing a similar role as former U-M wide out Jeremy Gallon.
“I think Drake fits more into the X-spot where Gallon played,” Hecklinski said. “Tight spots, more into the boundary, he can play off press because of his body control and his movement and his basketball skills that he has.”