If nothing else, it's difficult to question J-Shun Harris's perseverance.
The redshirt junior receiver out of Fishers, Indiana, is at the tail end of the recovery process of a second season-ending knee injury in as many years. The 5-foot-8, 170-pound athlete, if healthy, is expected to compete for the starting job in the slot in fall camp after being mostly limited in the spring.
When healthy as a true freshman in 2014, Harris caught 18 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns mostly from quarterback Nate Sudfeld. During the summer training session following that season he tore the ACL in his right knee and was forced to redshirt.
Harris went through the rehab process, got cleared about a year later but then tore the ACL in his left knee in 2016 fall practice. He technically took his medical redshirt for the first ACL tear, meaning the past season was more or less a complete loss, but for all intents and purposes he's still coming off like a redshirted player.
That makes him the first in our series looking at which redshirted Hoosiers could make the most impact in 2017.
As outlined above, Harris didn't have much of a choice.
Both of his season-ending injuries occurred during the offseason.
Main Hurdle: Staying healthy
Some guys just aren't all that lucky in terms of their health.
Harris is one of those guys.
Both of his ACL tears sound to have been non-contact injuries that could have happened to anyone. He unfortunately got struck by lightning twice.
That makes health the No. 1 concern surrounding Harris as he sheds his blue non-contact jersey and tries to check into a game for the first time since Nov. 29, 2014. He wasn't available for IU's spring game but should be full-go for fall camp.
"I'm just glad he's out there competing," receivers coach Grant Heard said during spring camp. "I know he wants to get back, so he's working hard at doing that. I'm just glad to see him out there running around."
Best Case: Being a productive starter in the slot
Harris's production as a true freshman was an unexpected complement to a veteran receiver corps that included the likes of Shane Wynn, Nick Stoner and Isaiah Roundtree.
His numbers could have been even better too, had it not been for Sudfeld's season-ending injury that brought in a rotating panel of quarterbacks that mostly couldn't get anything done through the passing attack. Harris only wound up catching four passes after Sudfeld went down.
Fifth-year senior starting quarterback Richard Lagow spread the ball through the air quite a bit last season. Six players wound up catching at least 13 passes for the year, implying that Lagow is willing to look anywhere and everywhere to complete a pass.
The starting spot in the slot that Harris once made his home as a true freshman is up for grabs, and although he'll have to earn it, Harris should have a realistic chance of taking it. From there, there's no reason to limit what type of production he may have.
It's also worth noting that Harris, as a freshman, returned punts, too. If his health is at all still in question, the coaching staff may opt to keep him away from the specialists unit, but if he's back at 100 percent he may be able to impact the team there as well.
High School Flashback
Rivals ranked Harris No. 13 overall in the state of Indiana coming out of Fishers High School in 2014.
The two-time First-Team All-Hamilton County pick still owns Fishers career records for receptions (133), receiving yards (2,032), touchdown catches (17), punt returns (40), punt return yardage (768), punt return average (19.2) and punt return touchdowns (5).
As a senior, Harris made 62 catches for 1,027 yards and eight scores. He also took 13 punts back for 318 yards and two touchdowns.
Harris chose Indiana after initially committing to Ball State. He also had interest from Purdue.
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