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EKU's Harris to miss season with knee injury
The Colonels will likely open the season without one of their top returning offensive threats.
Junior wide receiver Orlandus Harris suffered a severe knee injury prior to training camp and is expected miss the entire year.
At this point, EKU officials can not comment on the situation because of privacy issues, but multiple sources have confirmed that Harris has already had surgery on the knee and will be sidelined for the season.
“I can’t speak to specifics of his injury,” EKU coach Dean Hood said Wednesday. “Legally, I’m not allowed to. All I can say is that he’s not out here at practice today and we are getting some other guys ready. I can’t really talk about his injury or how long his is going to be out.”
Harris developed a tremendous chemistry with quarterback T.J. Pryor in the past two years and has emerged as a game-changing receiver.
After finishing third on the team with 31 catches in 2010 as a redshirt freshman, the Chattanooga, Tenn., native was second in the Ohio Valley Conference in receiving yards (940) and third in the league in receptions (56) last year.
He posted back-to-back 200-yard receiving games a season ago against Jacksonville State and Tennessee Tech, had a team-high seven receiving TDs and was a Second-Team All-OVC selection.
In just two seasons as a full-time starter, Harris has 1,372 receiving yards, which leaves him just 131 yards short of moving into the school’s top 10 in that category.
“Anytime you lose a good player, it’s unfortunate,” Hood said. “We’ve got some guys who are really stepping up. Justin Williams is really looking good. Cameron Bailey, a junior college guy, is really looking good. Tyrone Goard is back, he’s a veteran guy who caught a lot of passes for us last year. Then we’ve got a bunch of tight ends who can really catch the ball.”
The Colonels have other options at wide receiver, but Harris will certainly be missed.
Last season, the 6-foot, 190 pound standout accounted for 41 percent of EKU’s receptions (56 of 135), half of the team’s touchdown receptions (seven of 14) and more than half of the team’s total receiving yards (940 of 1861).
Goard, a junior from Charleston, W.Va., now becomes the Colonels’ top returning receiver. He had 20 catches last year for 315 yards and five touchdowns. Justin Williams, a sophomore from McDonough, Ga, is also back. He had 15 catches for 126 yards last season.
The rest of EKU’s returning pass catchers didn’t play a big role in the offense last year.
Sophomore tight end Matt Lengel had four catches for 42 yards and senior receiver Chris Moore, a converted linebacker, had five receptions for 43 yards.
The addition of Bailey could certainly help fill the void left by Harris’ injury. The 6-foot, 196-pound junior transfer led the College of Canyons with 36 receptions and 504 receiving yards in 10 games last season.
“Getting Cam Bailey was huge for us,” Hood said. “Listening to the guys talk, they were talking about him from early in the summer. Once we got out here and started fall camp, we saw he was a good player.”
By Nathan Hutchinson, Richmond Register