By Matt Bressington
The NFL Academy was once again the centre of attention for the U19 European audience, and once again there were flashes of future potential all over the field. They cruised to a 34-2 win to close the series of games against the Düsseldorf Panthers, in which they won both in reasonable comfort. The improvement of the standout receiver treat for the academy was also on full display, after his breakout game against Flash De La Courneuve, Seb Harris is continuing to establish himself as a highly anticipated European prospect. After a pair of long scores on the day and a few key focus points over the last few games, I think it’s important to break down who could be one of the elite prospects in his class and one of the best players in the academy.
Wide Receiver – United Kingdom – Seb Harris – NFL Academy
As always, the strengths of Seb’s game are first up. His hands are naturally part of his game that is above average in his class. He follows the ball safely, keeping his concentration through the process, keeping his eyes on the ball, and not being thrown off by contact or traffic. Where he stands out though, is the deep option, his straight-line speed and stride length mean he can create distance well. Combined with the solid route running and 6’3 210lb size, he can take the top off coverage if the DBs fail to get their hands on him. For his high point ability, he shows flashes of his next-level potential, honestly, he’s just rarely had to use it apart from the few occasions, but because of his length, he can be extremely effective in that part of the game. For both Great Britain and the Academy he has shown the capability to climb the ladder and show the 35” vertical. A very important part of his game is his understanding of the distance, he isn’t the kind of player to come back on themselves to extend the play. He takes what the defence gives him, moves the chains, and then picks up more chunk yardage on the very next play.
When it comes to polishing up his game certain areas need more attention than others. He’s extremely talented, but every prospect has points of emphasis for improvement. For Seb, his release needs to be quicker off the first step. The speed is very inconsistent; sometimes it will give him a completely free release but at times he will allow the defender to get hands-on and ultimately disrupt his route. His blocking can be grapy around the shoulder pads, the block disruption isn’t the same level in Europe as it is in the States so he will have to clean on his mechanics with his hand positioning. Due to his role in the academy, he isn’t relied on to be a “Run after catch” player, but when he does receive screens, short hitches, or comebacks he takes contact upright, giving his legs up and limiting his yards after the initial contact.
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