J-Shun Harris 'Thankful' To Be Back, Making Special Teams Impact

Stu Jackson, Staff Writer
The Hoosier

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Jordan Wells / TheHoosier.com

IU redshirt junior wide receiver J-Shun Harris admitted Tuesday that returning to the endzone was a strange feeling.

The Fishers, Ind. native had waited two years for the chance, after all, having to overcome two ACL injuries but is already making the most of having full health.

"It was awesome," Harris said. "I was a little surprised, like, 'wow, hold on, this is still kind of weird,' but everyone slapping me on the head brought me back to reality once I got to the sideline. I was just very thankful to get back out there."

Harris adds another weapon to an IU special teams unit that boasts a Big Ten-best 21.8 yards per punt return, averages 42.1 yards per punt and is one of only three Big Ten schools with 100 percent accuracy on field goals so far this season.

The punt return touchdown came during the Hoosiers' 34-17 win at Virginia, a 44-yard burst which helped build Indiana's lead midway through the third quarter.

"First off, I noticed that the guy had outkicked his coverage," Harris said. "A lot of those guys ran to the boundary, so the way it was set up it was perfect for us to go to the field and it opened up perfectly."

For his efforts, he was named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week. But the recognition, and the touchdown itself, almost didn't happen.

Harris accidentally fair-caught a first-half punt on IU's own 2-yard line, which set up IU's offense deep in its own territory. The second-half touchdown, of course, made up for it and was in part motivational fuel for Harris.

"Didn't know where I was at. I can't make those mistakes," Harris said. "Happy that Coach (Tom) Allen decided to stick with me. When I went out there the second time, I was a little mad at myself so that made me want to do as much as I could."

Harris remains the Hoosiers' top punt return option, and after the Virginia game he expects similar results every time the ball is in his hands.

"If you noticed, I kind of caught it high, because I thought, 'Oh yeah, this is one,'" Harris said. "Before going out there, I was telling some of the guys, 'Yo, I feel like this is going to be a touchdown right here.' Thankfully it all worked out.

"I guess every time I go out there I have to tell myself it's going to be a touchdown, and hopefully it will work out that way."

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