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With 97 days left until Virginia Tech takes the field against Alabama, we turn our attention to #97 on roster Mr. Kris Harley. Harley is one of my favorites on Virginia Tech’s defensive line. Often after a big play, you can hear Harley let out some sort of war cry even if you’re up in the stands. The Indiana native plays with a lot of emotion and drive. That effort though hasn’t helped him lock up the backup job at defensive tackle. Coach Wiles wasn’t too overly impressed with his play this spring so hopefully the Warren Central grad does what he needs to do this summer to lock up a spot on the depth chart.
Weight: 282 lbs
Position: Defensive Tackle
High School: Warren Central High School
High School Career
Had it not been for a running back commitment from Darren Evans, the Hokies might not have ever made the connections to Kris Harley that led to him committing to the Hokies. Harley was highly recruited with offers from Southern Cal, Stanford, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Nebraska, Michigan, and plenty other universities. However, credit Coach Wiles for building a connection with this young man and convincing him to sign with Virginia Tech.
Harley finished his senior season with 46 total tackles, including seven for loss and six sacks. That effort led to an invitation to the Offense-Defense Bowl down in Florida.
Reasons For Excitement
Attitude/Effort: I love defensive linemen that bring that little extra to the field. Harley is almost like the polar opposite to Antoine Hopkins, who graduated last season. There are instances where you have to calm him down instead of trying to pump him up. That attitude helps sets the tone for other guys on the defensive line and I could see Harley developing into a leader on this defensive line over the next three seasons.
Potential: That offer list I detailed above is insane. There might be three or four other guys on this team who can match that. Obviously, this kid has a lot of potential and ability. We saw it last season when he intercepted a pass deep in Cincinnati territory. As a player, Harley just needs to continue developing and working hard in the strength and conditioning program.
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Causes For Concern
Consistency: If there was an issue with Harley last season it was getting him to bring that intensity every single play. That might be a conditioning issue more than an effort issue. Still, Coach Wiles preaches consistency and Harley will need to get himself into good enough shape before the season in order to be a significant contributor.
Lack of Starting Experience: Harley has 191 snaps under his belt but if he’s called up to start a game, he’ll need to step up his play for 60 snaps a game. Without any starting experience in our 2nd string, it would be beneficial if both of our defensive tackles stay healthy this year.
What to Expect in 2013
To be honest, Harley is a tough player to really write a prediction for. On one hand, he had some impressive scholarship offers out of high school. He was highly ranked and entered Virginia Tech with a bright future ahead of him. On the other hand, he’s been inconsistent and just hasn’t developed as fast as some would have liked. Granted, he’s just a sophomore so he has three seasons left. But, I’m hoping Harley steps up to the plate this fall since a starting job may be waiting for him in 2014.
This fall, I just want Harley to play solid. He doesn’t have to make every play. He just needs to play his gap, and make the tackle when he can. Let Luther Maddy and Derrick Hopkins do their thing. Just focus on his game and give the coaches another trustworthy option at defensive tackle. Then in 2014, Harley will have a tremendous opportunity to become a starter in his 4th year on campus.
Harley is an emotional player and one that will assume a leadership role when he becomes an upperclassman. That said, he has a ways to go as a player to break into the starting role. He also has some work to do to earn his spot back from last season as a backup.
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