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South Carolina Gamecocks football 2014 roster preview: Mason Harris

Harris likely to see most playing time of his career as second-team defensive end.

Mason Harris
RS junior
6'3'' / 235 lbs
Fort Oglethorpe, GA

consensus three-star recruit in 2011, nation's 42nd weakside defensive end

Other offers: Kentucky, Miami (FL), Middle Tennessee St.

College Career:
Harris redshirted his true freshman season (2011) and played sparingly on special teams in his RS freshman season (2012). As a RS sophomore (2013), Harris came into the season projected to see the field more as a situational pass rusher in Carolina's "rabbit" package. Playing in this role early in the season, he logged a half sack against UNC and a QB hurry against Vandy. However, he was relegated to special teams later in the season as Gerald Dixon began earning more playing time.

2014 Outlook:
With Chaz Sutton and Jadeveon Clowney gone, Harris is currently listed on the second team at defensive end. While the Gamecocks were hoping that the prep talent they signed at the position would be able to help them out this year, the academic status of all the signees other than hybrid DT/DE Blake McClain has either been determined in the negative or is up in the air. Therefore, Gamecocks fans can expect to see Harris play a big role in the defensive line rotation.

What kind of player can we expect to see? Harris is basically a slightly smaller version of Darius English. He's a tweener who the Gamecocks have worked some at linebacker. As an end, he's got the speed to get to the QB from the edge, but his size makes him a probable liability in run defense. With defensive end one of the concerns for the Carolina defense heading into the season, whether Harris can dispel those concerns may be a major factor in how good this defense can be.

Harris is a spring practice warrior who won the Rex Enright Defensive Player of the Spring award in 2012 and the Everyday Effort award in 2013. While his tweener status may limit how much of an impact he can make, by all accounts, he's a hard worker who will leave it all on the field.