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‘It’s a blessing’: J-Shun Harris overcomes injuries to reach IU Pro Day

J-Shun Harris against Ball State this past season. (Mark Timko/HN)

On his 23rd birthday, slot receiver J-Shun Harris II posted one final IU picture. For him, it was time for something new.

Harris’ journey to his Pro Day has been anything but typical. Standing at 5 feet 8 inches, Harris was already one of the smallest players at his position.

Then Harris tore his ACL in 2015. He tore it again in 2016, and again in 2017.

During his IU career, Harris has been faced with hardship time after time. And every time, he came back.

Harris’ birthday post marked the beginning of a new chapter in his life as he works to become a professional football player.

“A lot of people probably looked at the situation and probably wrote me off,” Harris said. “Being able to come out here and perform like I wanted to, hopefully that got a couple guys attention, a couple team’s attention.”

In front of scouts from over 25 NFL teams, Harris turned heads during IU’s Pro Day. Harris posted a 35.5 inch vertical leap and 17 lifts at the 225 lb. bench press. On the broad jump, Harris had a leap of 10 feet 1 inch. In the all important 40-yard dash, IU football Athletic Performance Coach Matt Rhea clocked Harris at 4.37 seconds.

It was a performance that Harris felt good about.

“The standards that I set for myself, I reached all of them so can’t me more than happy about that,” Harris said. “The 40 cleats helped me out a lot, felt like I had nothing on my feet. Felt like I was moving.”

Before Pro Day, Harris hadn’t met with any NFL teams. He’s hoping that scouts just needed to see more from him, and his Pro Day performance showed what they were looking for.

Harris has limited film with all the time he missed with injuries, but Harris has shown throughout his IU career that he can make an impact on special teams as a returner.

Harris never had three months to focus on training before, a process that Harris wanted to end faster. Though being able to talk to and work out with former IU players in Shane Wynn and Tegray Scales helped Harris through the process and helped him get ready for his Pro Day.

“Those guys just helped us, all of us with the mindset that we needed to come in here and attack everything because again it’s like a job interview. That’s basically what we’ve been doing, getting our resume together.”

Scales and Wynn told Harris and the other players to focus on doing what they do best. It was that advice that brought Harris back to his track days in high school, an experience that helped him prepare for the 40-yard dash.

The football future of Harris is uncertain. He is not projected to be selected in the NFL draft. It isn’t easy for a wide receiver of his stature to make it in the NFL. Harris doesn’t know what his future is going to hold, whether it be on or off the football field, and he doesn’t necessarily care.

“I want to exercise this opportunity and see how far I can go with it,” Harris said. “If it’s years that would be awesome, if not I’m on to the next phase. But I’m not worried about it. Some people have anxiety around this time, you feel like you need to have some answer, or people ask you ‘What’s next?’ But I’ve learned to just say, ‘I’m not sure,’ and whatever it is I’ll be ready for it.”

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