Palmyra Graduate Taj Harris Looks to Continue His Success at Syracuse

Palmyra Graduate Taj Harris Looks to Continue His Success at Syracuse
Taj Harris enjoyed an outstanding football career at Palmyra High, one that showcased his tremendous athletic ability and versatility.
 
While it would have surprised nobody if Harris excelled at the college level, the fact that he had a dominant freshman season at Syracuse University, might have caught some off-guard.
 
At Palmyra, Harris played all over the field. Before coming to Palmrya he was a quarterback, but during his first three seasons he played mainly receiver, sometimes at running back and also in the secondary.
 
During his senior season at Palmyra he played mostly quarterback while still excelling in the secondary.
 
As a senior he passed for 1,550 and 19 touchdowns, while rushing for 979 yards and 10 touchdowns.
 
Also a basketball standout at Palmyra, Harris utilized his tremendous athletic ability along with his football acumen to excel during his high school days with the Panthers.
 
At Palmyra, he became the second player in South Jersey football history to pass for 1,000 yards in one season and have at least 1,000 yards receiving in another, according to area football historian Chuck Langerman.
 
Last season was his first at Syracuse and it would have surprised nobody if Harris would have redshirted. Instead, he was a dominant force as a receiver.
 
During his freshman year, he appeared in 12 games, including seven starts. He had 40 receptions for 565 yards and three touchdowns. Harris set the Syracuse rookie records for receptions and receiving yards.
 
He was third among Atlantic Coast Conference freshmen in receptions behind Clemson’s Justyn Ross (46) and Wake Forrest’s Sage Surratt (41).
 
He set the tone immediately by catching his first pass for a 24-yard touchdown in a win over Wagner.
 
Harris also had some of his best performances against the top competition.
 
During a loss to eventual national champion Clemson, he had three receptions for 66 yards, including a career-long 51-yard reception.
 
Harris earned his first start on Oct. 6 against Pitt and had four receptions for 64 yards.
 
More impressively, he performed well for a Syracuse team that went 10-3 overall and 6-2 in the ACC.
 
Syracuse capped its season with a 34-18 win over No. 15 West Virginia during the Camping World Bowl in Orlando Florida. In that game Harris finished with four receptions for 55 yards.
 
Now his sophomore year will be a major test. Unlike last year when opposing teams didn’t know much about Harris, especially at the beginning of the year, he will now command plenty of defensive attention.
 
Then again, he also has a year’s experience and should be a better player.
 
Not only was it a breakthrough year for Harris, but it was for Syracuse as well. The Orange had been 4-8 in each of the three previous seasons.
 

This is a team that remains on the rise and Harris’ development will be a key factor.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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