Nation's Top JUCO Tackler Ready For Spring Ball
Replacing George at linebacker will be difficult, but the Cyclone coaching staff made a step in the right direction by luring the services of Jordan Harris, who was the nation’s top junior college tackler in 2013.
The former Copiah-Lincoln Community College All-American picked the Cyclones because of their outstanding linebacker tradition and for the chance to follow in the footsteps of another Cyclone All-Big 12 performer. He’s ready for the monumental task.
“Watching Jeremiah and the legacy he left - and the legacies of A.J. (Klein) and Jake (Knott) - are the big reasons I chose Iowa State,” Harris said. “I want to be just as good as those guys. It’s something I expect and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
A native of Clarksdale, Miss., Harris averaged 13.8 tackles per game while earning NJCAA Second-Team All-America honors in 2013. Leading the nation in tackles was a goal set by Harris at the beginning of the season.
Achieving that goal wasn’t easy, however. But like his predecessor at ISU (George), Harris was a frequent visitor in the film room. He spent countless hours studying his opponents.
“It was a goal (to lead the nation in tackles),” Harris said. “I pretty much knew I was going be up there at the top. I studied so much film and my abilities gave me some great chances to make plays.”
Die-hard Cyclone fans might be familiar with Copiah-Lincoln CC. The Wesson, Miss., institution produced another outstanding Iowa State linebacker in Tim Dobbins. Dobbins was a defensive stalwart on a pair of ISU bowl teams in 2004 and 2005.
Dobbins has enjoyed an eight-year NFL career and Harris is aware of his legacy at both institutions.
“I haven’t met Tim, but I knew he was a great player at Co-Lin and ISU, and went to the NFL.”
Harris just finished up his two weeks as a student at Iowa State University. He will take advantage of going through spring drills in a month and the wonderful opportunity to get acclimated with his teammates.
He’s already formed a bond with All-Big 12 tight end E.J. Bibbs, who can relate to Harris as a junior college All-American who transferred in at semester.
“The player I am closest with is E.J.,” Harris said. “He’s kind of taken me under his wing, showing me the ropes. He was a junior college guy and knows what I am going through.”
Harris already has the number of practices until his first game as a Cyclone added up in his head.
“Doing my math, I have around 44 practices until I get to put on a Cyclone uniform for the first time,” Harris said. “The 15 practices in the spring will really help out heading into the season.”