J-Shun Harris commits to Indiana

In a sport increasingly ruled by behemoths in which the prototype height for all but a few positions is 6-foot-5, little guys have to stick together. That’s why when 5-foot-8 Fishers wide receiver J-Shun Harris was looking for a school, it made a difference that Indiana already has a player like him and knows how to use him.

The presence and success of the 5-foot-7 junior wide receiver Shane Wynn was a significant factor for Harris, who verbally committed to Indiana this week after de-committing from Ball State. Wynn caught 68 passes for 660 yards and six touchdowns a season ago, and will have one year of eligibility remaining when Harris gets to campus next fall.

“The stats show it all,” Harris said. “Shane was the second-leading receiver in the Big Ten last year and they had the No. 1 passing offense and the No. 2 overall offense in the league. Seeing what Shane’s done, that’s perfect for me. He’s a role model for little guys like me. He gives me hope. To be able to learn from him his senior year, it was a no-brainer for me.”

There was more to it than that. It certainly helped that the Hoosiers proved they could use a small but speedy receiver in their uptempo spread offense, but Harris, a 3.0 student, was also attracted to Indiana’s Kelly School of Business and to the direction of Indiana’s football program in general.

“Everyone seems like a family there,” Harris said. “I know that they’re working for something great and I wanted to be a part of it.”

The Hoosiers have reason to believe he can be a significant part of it because Harris has a lot of the same tools that Wynn does. The 5-foot-8, 161-pounder has been clocked at 4.37 seconds in the 40-yard dash and at 10.93 in the 100-yard dash. He qualified for the state meet last year in the 100 meters and with a team in the 4×100-meter relay, which finished 10th.

The speed has translated to a lot of production on the field as well. He caught 38 passes for 527 yards and five touchdowns last season and 33 passes for 478 yards and four TD’s the season before. Over the last two seasons, he’s taken three punts back for touchdowns.

“He’s a very dynamic player,” Fishers coach Rick Wimmer said. “When he gets his hands on the football, he can make things happen in a hurry. He’s got a lot of wiggle in him, but he’s also got a lot of just sheer speed. He’s not just a receiver that can cut laterally, he’s got good straight line speed.”

Harris will likely be used mostly in the slot at Indiana, but at Fishers, they’ve found a number of different ways to put his speed to work.

“He’s been an outside guy and we have ways to get him in the slot,” Wimmer said. “Through the summer we’ve tried to move him around a little bit more so other teams won’t know exactly where he’s going to line up. He’s been in the outside, he’s been in the slot, he’s been on the backside of trips some. We can put him in a number of receiver situations where he can get his hands on the ball in a variety of situations. And he’s probably the best punt returner I’ve had in 30 years of coaching. He’s dynamic. He has great hands, he catches the ball and tracks the ball very well. When he gets it, he’s very good in the open field.”
Wimmer said Harris is still trying to focus on downfield blocking in the running game. Though his size will likely keep him from ever being dominant in that part of the game, it’s important to Harris that he at least be adequate. His goal is to put on 14 pounds of muscle by the time he arrives at Indiana next year.
Harris is Indiana’s eighth commitment for the Class of 2014.


  1. That’s a good fit. A hurry up offense takes a lot out of a receiver (maybe more than any other position) so we need all the depth we can get outside the tackles.

    Pretty impressive stats too. You can’t teach a guy to be fast.

  2. Dustin, the 100 yard dash time doesn’t look right for a guy with this kid’s 40 time. Are you sure that 10.93 is right?

  3. How exactly is his name pronounced? I ask as I know of a person that has a name with the dash in it and pronounces it as Dash. So, not trying to be smart here, is it J Shun or Jdashshun?

  4. slojoe, what about his times don’t look right to you? Both times look fast to me. It would be reasonable to assume that if he ran in the finals of the 100 he’d have a sub-11 second time.

    He’s short, which means he’s likely to be faster at the shorter distance and would start to lose ground beyond 50 yards. A friend of mine in High School, who was 5’7″, was the fastest kid in our school in the 40-yard dash. He consistently ran in the range of 4.4 in the 40. But he was not in the top four in the 100 yard dash. During indoor track season, he won every race in the 50 yard dash, but was not even on the 4 X 100 relay team.

    If he’s got good hands, he’ll be trouble for linebackers, corners and safeties in the Big Ten.

  5. This kid looks like a speedster. He fits the mold of Shane Wynn and could potentially replace him when Wynn graduates. Also, there is a new IU football site http://www.hoosierhuddle.com it has some good stuff and its updated daily it looks like

  6. The times shown, more than likely, are not 100-yard dash times (which the comments here are citing), but 100-meter dash times (the Olympic distance now run in college and high school) which have been run for sometime now. There is a ( >10%) distance increase in the distance run now which accounts for the discrepancy and makes times appear slower. For instance, 9.89 won the NCAA this year and 10.3 got in the finals (I believe a Clemson T+F/Football player). In the days of 100-yard dashes, 9.3 was considered very good, and the world.record was approaching (or did reach) 9.0. In the day of the ‘yard dashes’ 10.3 would not have gotten you a Mc Donald burger from the coach after several Indiana high schools meets.

    Translated to today, 10.9 is quite good (in Track and Field times) at the Big Ten level for an incoming freshman; the best 100-meter run in the US this year is also 09.89 I believe.

    In short, 10.9 is f-a-s-t. It would win many Big 10 meets.

  7. Tsao, well said and I believe you are exactly right. I assumed it was 100 meters and not 100 yards and could not figure out why slojoe was confused by those two times. They both look pretty fast to me, and I believe he was a Junior when he recorded that time.

    What I want to know is why IU risked losing the kid to Ball State in the first place. With that kind of speed, we should have been recruiting him hard from the beginning.

  8. Podunker, To me, anything under 10 minutes for 100 (yards or meters) is cause for a beer.

    As for ‘risking’, I’ve liked CKW’s approach to recruiting, they seem to really look these kids over several times and are not prone to going on ‘rep’ and hype, which is common at the high school level. Coaches have been known to push their kids; while CKW appears to set ‘standards’ and assess before deciding. Criteria has to be football players who can win in the toughest of the two B1G ‘divisions’.

    Surely, we’ll lose one or two this way, but we will hopefully have 50-60 solid football players in each (4 yr)cycle and not 12 football players and 40+ in filler-uniform.

    Remember Bob Hicks, he always laughed about his first recruiting year here; he reviewed more than 600 recommendations, looked at over 350 movie clips (before video), identified nearly 200 prospects, visited 100+ homes, recruited 60 kids (between scholarship and walk-ons, signed 25+ and, to quote him: ‘one was a football player’. I’ve never forgotten that.

  9. Podunker, add- “To me, anything under 10 minutes for 100 (yards or meters) is cause for a beer and a nap.”

  10. Is a 100 yd. dash time even relevant to football? Is a receiver going to beat his man on the 89th yd. of his route? I’d take a guy three tenths of a second slower in the 100 yd. event but who runs every route as if his life depended on it (even though he knows the ball is not coming his way) over the faster guy any day of the week. If you want to identify a “great” receiver, keep an eye on him away from the play.

  11. Davis- no, absolutely not. I agree with you all the way around. The only place it would matter is if you are seeing 13.2/100 times for a running or defensive back. My attempt was to clarify the discussion whether a 10.9 or 11.0 time was ‘fast’ or not and way trying to make it clear that the description had to consider whether it was in yards (the old sprint stan dard) or in meters(the new standard as now used in the US).

    Actually, where it comes to naked speed`, the 40(yard or meters) would be more relevant to football. And, you’d need a totally different set of measures for evaluating linemen. And, even then, I do not know many fb players that get to run much in a straight line. And your observation, basically ‘there are better ways to evaluate a football player’ is accurate.

    Still, I remember a scout (for the NY Giants) who filled out a report that read, ‘…he’s quick as a cat’ and the Director of Scouting sent him back a note asking, “how quick is a cat? More detail please?’

  12. Some scouts go by 20 or even 10 yard times as that is a more realistic effective distance. Very few of the all time great receivers had world class time in distances as long as 100 meters.

    Jerry Rice and Chris Carter didn’t. Bob Hayes did but he couldn’t catch a cold.

  13. The receiver without the runny nose is a Hall of Famer. He caused pro FB to install zones D’s and the bump and run. IIRC he still holds franchise receiving record(s) for the Boys. Playing mostly in the 60’s he was so feared as a deep threat the Dallas ground game flourished. Now Skeets Nehemiah and Jimmy Hines both suffered from pneumonia.

  14. There’s no doubt his speed had an impact, changed the game even. You can’t leave a player open behind the defense even if there’s only a 50% chance he’ll hold on to the ball. However, he didn’t get into the HOF until memories got fuzzy about his stone hands. The Seniors Committee selected him 34 years after his playing days. It was his long time teammate, Walt Garrison, who famously said Hayes “couldn’t catch a cold in a blizzard”.

    The next player Hayes blocks downfield will be the first. As he’s no longer with us we’ll just put a zero in that box.

    In the 60s and 70s high school football coaches used to refer to players as ‘Bob Hayes’ to imply they were fast but they couldn’t catch.

    Speed was about as far as it went, though. That and he wasn’t afraid to go across the middle to drop a ball. No knowledgeable fan would seriously compare his receiving skills to those of a Rice or Carter (among other greats), who could do everything and do it all the time (which is why it didn’t take a Seniors Committee vote to get them into the HOF).

  15. Walt also said but much more often “just put a pinch between your cheek and gum”(1 of my all time favorite players)(Meredith said about WG if you need 4 yds. Walt will get you 5, if you need 20 yds. Walt will get you 5). In his era Hayes for the 1st half of his career was an elite receiver. Still holds career Boy records for TD’s and ypc. Held their single game ypc until 2009. Seniors Committee purpose is to right wrongs of the past. In BH’s case the result of being snubbed came from fatigue of the Dallas Syndrome.

  16. Hey, just wanted to apologize for the confusion that began this debate. It was definitely 100 meters, not 100 yards. It’s always 100 meters in high school track these days, and has been since they started phasing out cinder tracks which was about 25-30 years ago. It had certainly been 100 meters much longer than that in higher levels. Anyway, that was just a straight typo, not a “maybe it was yards, maybe it was meters” situation. Wrote yards for the 40 and wrote yards again without thinking.
    But my point of including it was just to add evidence to the fact that Harris is really fast. And I like including track stuff in football stories, because in track there’s competition and comparison. Obviously, an wide receiver might never have to actually run 100 meters in a game, but it’s kind of a neat thing to be able to point at a guy and say, “see him, he was the fastest kid in Indiana last year.” Just a thing. You’ve got your 40 time too.
    Tsao, you do exaggerate a bit though. Kid from Iowa won the Big Ten with a 10.27. Everyone in the final was 10.6 or better. Thirteen guys ran 10.9 or better in prelims.

  17. Well said Clarions. Sometimes Chet seems to have his own reality.

    I certainly remember Hayes for being a very dangerous receiver the entire league had to plan and account for; as well as remembering he certainly was not anything more than a moderately skilled receiver when it came to catching the ball. That said, given that 28 points is a hell of a lot of points, no one was going to overlook his specific talent. Maybe he dropped 50% of his catches- for the sake of argument call it 70% of his catches. Throw him 7 catches and you were looking at about 14 points you did not want against you. If you are the coach, throw him 10 (not an outrageous number) and you end up calling your agent to get you a new job.

    Worse, is the other alternative. With Hayes out there, the decision is made to not throw it to him with any frequency, say 4 times which make you risk on his presence. Now you relax the coverage and focus it elsewhere…good luck, he ‘only’ catches two because he’s allowed more open room and you are looking at 14 points. Some tried, and they paid dearly. Hayes was the second Cowboy to gain 1000 yards (dis this more than once I recall).

    And, you miss his other claim to respect as a football player. He was also sent to the Hall of Fame because he was a memorable kick/punt returner. He ‘averaged’ 20.8 y.p.r. Think about that and what it means. Hayes, for all of his shortcomings- dropping the ball- earned every bit of his presence in the Football HoF for his merits.

    You may also want to remember and consider what he meant as a Track and Field World Record who not only set world records in the 100 yard dash (9.0 or 9.1 I believe; at or under under 20.0 in the 200 yard); was the first American to run a 10.9 100 meter and won Gold medals in the Tokyo and Mexico Olympics. As a trunk junkie, I’ll also tell you that what track fans still shake their heads about is that in the Tokyo Olympics he led the U.S. 200 meter Gold medal with a leg timed between 8.3. and 8.5 seconds that provided what for most around the world is the most remarkable single performance ever. It was not only whether he was honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame when it recognized his obvious and earned contributions. The Pro Football Hall of Fame honored itself (as well as showing their business acumen)by honoring Hayes’ complete dossier as an athlete and a pro-football player.

    He also had one other impact you may want to consider since he had an important impact on minority institutions. Bob Hayes went to college at Florida A&M and his fame brought attention to historically Black institutions on the basis of their own athletic programs and, likely, opened the door into pro-sports for many athletes and schools who, otherwise may have been ignored.

    Truthfully, I’m a bit surprised by the intensity of your negative feelings and rejection of Bob Hayes. He was truly an American Hero and deserving of all his honors as a great athlete, a great football player and a very admirable human being- faults and all.

  18. One clarification. In the second paragraph I wrote about coaches facing Hayes, ” If you are the coach, throw him 10 (not an outrageous number) and you end up calling your agent to get you a new job.” To clarify, that should have read, If you are the OPPOSING coach, IGNORE HIM and the COWBOYS throw him 10 (not an outrageous number) and you (the OPPOSING COACH) end up calling your agent to get you a new job.

    Sometimes my fingers outrace my brains.

  19. By the way, Hayes is one of only two Pro Football Hall of Fame honorees to win Olympic Gold Medals. The other one was the great native American hero we all grew up admiring, Jim Thorpe.

  20. Clarion, sorry…first line of the last paragraph, where I talk about the ‘intensity’ of feeling manifested, was directed (respectfully) at Chet, not you. Sorry if I created a different impression.

  21. “Sometimes Chet seems to have his own reality”

    Really? That’s quite a statement coming from you.

    Just hours ago, DD, “Tsao, you do exaggerate a bit though. Kid from Iowa won the Big Ten with a 10.27. Everyone in the final was 10.6 or better. Thirteen guys ran 10.9 or better in prelims.”

    Par for the course.

  22. Better reread DD’s comment…100 yards and 100 meters are not the same thing. Hayes still holds the 100 yard world record (the event was later metricized)of 09.1sec., and Bolt now holds the world record for the 100 meter of 09.58sec. The 100 meter event is actually 109.36+ yards. Perhaps DD didn’t like being corrected, but if he bothers to reread #6 he’ll see there was no exaggeration; even less a reason to get bent out of shape.

    The conversation (1oo y vs 100 m) was about the event today vs 20+ years ago. It was important in that 10.9 is a good, solid time. The only person who seemed to take it in its proper perspective was Podunker.

    Sort of like when, two years ago you corrected me on motorcycles and the value of a Harley (not much) vs a Triumph and others. I was lucky, I learned a lot (I then made it a point to read further so as to educate myself a little bit to cover an area of ignorance. Same two weeks ago on cochlear implants and technology.

    Life is a humbling experience, isn’t it?

  23. Tsao,
    It’s a brilliant time. Any of us would kill to run a 10.9. But it wouldn’t win many Big Ten meets. Of course, frankly, there’s only one Big Ten meet. They don’t run duals. But I shouldn’t have said that because the rest of your comment had the time pretty much in perspective.
    Anyway, the upshot of all of this is that J-Shun Harris is really fast. He’s not Usain Bolt, but he’s fast. Point’s been made.

  24. Willie Gault….Pure speed.

    We are the Scoop, shufflin’ crew
    Shufflin’ here, for me and you
    Tsao’s not here to start any trouble, he’s just here to burst Dustin’s bubble.

    Gault played in the National Football League for 11 seasons for the Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Raiders. He was a member of the Bears team that won Super Bowl XX, and was also a member of the U.S. Olympic team that boycotted the 1980 Olympics. Gault is considered one of the fastest NFL players of all-time. He is currently pursuing a career as an actor.
    His personal best are 13.26 seconds in the 110 meter hurdles and 9.95 seconds in the 100 meters.(courtesy: Wikipedia

    Without the boycott of the 1980 Olympic games, it’s highly possible that Gault could have brought home Gold on the 100m relay team(they held the World Record)and the 110m hurdles.

  25. Just a note: In the above bubble/Shuffle link, “Speedy Will”(Willie Gault, #83)joins in the Superbowl Shuffle immediately following Sweetness at the 0:49 mark of the clip.

    The call me Harvard and I like blog
    If I’m on a thread, it’s a massive drain clog
    I’m not here to start Scoop trouble
    Got a cochlear implant, to hear in the huddle…

  26. Quick quiz, which of these teams has won the fewest playoff games in the past 16 years?

    Jacksonville Jaguars
    Carolina Panthers
    Arizona Cardinals
    St. Louis Rams
    Miami Dolphins
    Oakland Raiders
    Dallas Cowboys

  27. It’s pro football. Who cares? Maybe better question would be ‘How many pro football players have been arrested since the Super Bowl?’….(think the answer is around 30 or so. Even better ‘how many charges were listed for those arrested?’ For extra credit ‘How many involved murder?’

    Still kicking myself for spending money in the past to see the Bucs, Dolphins and Colts. How interesting is pro football to me – maybe if tickets were free and they throw in $100 bill, don’t think that would be enough to encourage me to attend.

    Must have read your question wrong – sorry.

  28. How many play(ed) for the Patriots?

    I heard a discussion about who is ‘America’s Team’ on the radio the other day. While the Cowboys anointed themselves, in my travels I found that, while they have a lot of fans in many different places, they are disliked by even more people. The same with the Patriots (actually, I didn’t find that many fans, mostly people that disliked them). The Steelers perhaps had the widest fan base but, again, many, many dislikes as well.

    The Atlanta Braves took up the moniker but that’s mostly on having one of the earliest cable networks. I don’t come across many people who feel one way or another about the Braves, including people in Atlanta. They can be in first place and you can’t give away tickets to their games.

    I think a case could be made for the Colts, at least during the Peyton Manning era. I have come across many Colts fans from all over, not as many as the Steelers, but a lot. The difference being, I rarely came across anyone who actually disliked, and rooted against, the Colts other than fans in New England.

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