Canes QB Jacory Harris Needs To Chat With Coach Chris Perkins
Jacory Harris should be one of the best college quarterbacks in America. The University of Miami standout threw for more than 3,000 yards last year and has been mentioned as a Heisman Trophy contender this year. But he has an interception problem. Last year, he tossed 17, and two weeks ago, against Ohio State, he threw four.
As the Hurricanes prepare to play the Pittsburgh Panthers this Thursday, I know how to fix this. Call in Chris Perkins, the high school quarterbacks coach who mentored Harris when he was lighting up the scoreboard for the Miami Northwestern Bulls.
Perkins is responsible for producing the Harris who threw 35 touchdown passes and only six interceptions during his first season as a Bulls starter in 2006. That year and the next, Harris went undefeated and won two state championships, and in 2007, he captured the high school national championship.
And it's not just Harris. Last year, Perkins guided Jeffrey Godfrey, the former Miami Central High QB who broke Harris's passing record of 6,365 yards by 716 yards. Godfrey now plays at the University of Central Florida. Two weeks ago, the Knights were down 21 points to the North Carolina State Wolfpack when Godfrey replaced starter Rob Calabrese in the third quarter. The former Central High standout marched his team 55 yards, capping the drive with a six-yard scramble for a touchdown. Godfrey finished with 160 yards passing and two TDs in the 28-21 loss. The kid was flat-out amazing. This past weekend, Godfrey led the Knights to victory.
It's no coincidence Perkins taught both Harris and Godfrey. And this year, even though we are upset he is not with us at Central, Perkins is back at Miami Northwestern, coaching Teddy Bridgewater, Harris's heir apparent at the University of Miami.
This man coached the top four state quarterbacks from 2005 to 2009, all of whom made first team All-Florida. Why doesn't Canes top man Randy Shannon or offensive coordinator Mark Whipple call him?
All three quarterbacks can relate to Perkins (whose dad coached Shannon at Norland) because they all grew up in the same kind of youth football, sponsored by the Optimist Club. In high school, Perkins started three years at quarterback for Miami Norland Senior High. He landed an athletic scholarship at Bethune-Cookman College, where he started for three years. He transferred to Tennessee State before his senior year. In his first game as the QB against the Tigers' rival, Eastern Kentucky, Perkins threw for 342 yards and two touchdowns. He ran for another.
Perkins needs to be invited to Greentree Field during practice so he can help Whipple understand what is going wrong with Harris. The UM coaches got a good start by prohibiting their players from tweeting. Perkins can tell you that in his school, Harris wasn't talking all of this crazy stuff on Twitter and posting pictures of himself in ridiculous outfits. The UM player needs to go back to his roots.
Perkins told me the other day that if he had been on the field for the Ohio State game, he would have gotten in Harris's face. I coached at Miami Central last year alongside Perkins. I've seen him lock quarterbacks in a room for five hours and force them to go over plays, reads, and checks. That's how you make a passing king. The Hurricanes have invested too much in Harris for him to fail.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.