Rutgers two-sport standout Jawuan Harris (Eric Espada/Rutgers Athletics)


Two-Sport Talents Star At Rutgers, UAB


Troy Cameron bristles anytime Rutgers center fielder / wide receiver Jawuan Harris is regarded – almost dismissively – as just an athlete.

Harris, in Cameron’s view, is a baseball player, and the three home runs he slugged on Saturday against USC Upstate is more proof.

“Jawuan has instincts and an understanding of the game you just can’t teach,” said Cameron, the baseball coach at St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “It bothered me (when he was a senior, and) scouts said he was just an athlete.”

Harris, a 5-foot-9, 195-pound sophomore leadoff man, led the Big Ten and finished fifth nationally with 37 steals in 46 starts last season. He was third nationally in steals per game and had the most thefts in the Big Ten in seven years.

The rest of his game was not as developed – he had a .278/.365/.389 slash line and was held to three homers all season.

This season, he has a much improved slash line: .310/.412/.609. He also leads Rutgers in steals (13) and homers (seven), a rare combination of speed and power that Scarlet Knights coach Joe Litterio compared, at this level, to what Rickey Henderson used to do in the majors.

“This (past) weekend was special – you got to see his real potential,” Litterio said of Harris’ three-homer effort. “He’s not tall, but he is put together well, and when he makes solid contact, the ball can go a long way.

“There’s not an ounce of fat on him, and he can get down the line in 3.8 or 3.9 (seconds).”

Rutgers’ emerging star is the grandson of former safety John Harris, who played 11 years in the NFL, posting 50 interceptions, 12 fumble recoveries and two touchdowns.

Jawuan Harris grew up playing baseball, since age 3. He started playing football four years later and has balanced both sports ever since.

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