Isaiah Harris makes fast impact on K-State receiving corps

K-State wide receivers Isaiah Zuber, left, and Isaiah Harris, right, celebrate Zuber’s touchdown against Central Arkansas. (Emily DeShazer/The Capital-Journal)

MANHATTAN — As is the case with many freshmen, Isaiah Harris came to Kansas State last season hoping to bypass a redshirt year and get on the field right away.


While he didn’t play in K-State’s opening game at Stanford, there he was in Week 2 against Florida Atlantic catching six passes for 46 yards. The speedy wide receiver, however, caught only four more passes while playing a total of five games.

As he looks back, Harris realizes he may not have been fully prepared to play as a true freshman.

“I definitely wanted to play,” Harris said. “I got hurt early in the season, which stopped me from really putting my best foot forward. I wanted to play but it didn’t work out that way.

“I really just had to get a grasp of the offense. That’s really what it was because coach (Andre) Coleman didn’t want to throw me out there not knowing what I was doing. I appreciate him for that, and now I feel like I have a grip on what’s going on.”

Harris had a good grip in the first game of his sophomore season, catching three passes for 118 yards with a 69-yard touchdown against Central Arkansas.

“He has done vastly better,” K-State coach Bill Snyder said. “He’s always had the desire and want to, but it’s the familiarity and being able to process the system and learn it, understand it and execute it properly. He’s getting better and better and he proved he’s made substantial improvement in that area.”

Last week against Charlotte he caught two for 20 yards, giving him a 27.6-yard average on his five receptions and providing a big-play threat for the No. 18 Wildcats, who play at Vanderbilt at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

“I just try to use my speed to my advantage,” he said. “I’m obviously not very big but I feel if they can’t touch me, I’m doing something right.”

At 5-foot-8 and 166 pounds, Harris can be a blur to the defense when he gets his hands on the ball.

“He can do anything,” said K-State safety Denzel Goolsby, who spent his first season as a redshirt at receiver before switching to defense. “Coach (Tom) Hayes calls him a jitterbug. That dude, he can make a million moves before you know which way he’s going. He’s hard to cover one-on-one. I don’t know if there’s anyone on the team that does it better than him. We’ve seen him make incredible plays. It’s not like we didn’t expect it because we’ve seen it so much in practice and I’m definitely happy for him because he works so hard all the time.

“He has speed and quickness and sometimes it’s hard to find both of those in a player, but he has it all. He brings everything to the table.”

Harris fits the small, shifty mold of fellow Wildcat receivers Dominique Heath and Isaiah Zuber.

“We’re all fast, definitely,” Harris said. “Zub might be the fastest, honestly, but we definitely are kind of similar. Coach Coleman likes to recruit guys who are explosive and we all fit that mold.”

Harris is listed on the depth chart as the backup to Heath — who played last week after sitting out the opening game — and is earning the trust of quarterback Jesse Ertz.

“He’s one of the quickest people we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Ertz said. “His full speed to stop is pretty dangerous. Any time you have a guy like that, and he’s maybe not even a primary receiver, you’re in pretty good hands. He got loose a few times (against Central Arkansas) and got to show it off a little bit, but he’s very capable and I expect him to have some big games.”

As Harris gains knowledge and experience in the system, his confidence and contributions will continue to rise.

“I feel like I made some strides in (fall) camp,” Harris said. “Getting together with Jesse and getting in the film room really helped me.

“I feel like my role is just to answer when I’m called upon. As far as the depth chart, I feel like it’s all interchangeable. We all can step on the field and make a play anytime.”

Contact Ken Corbitt at (785) 295-1123 or @KenCorbitt on Twitter.



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