By Pete Moye’
Former East Los Angeles College defensive back Jeremy Harris was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL draft on Saturday.
The six-foot-two-inch, 180-pound Harris signed with the New Mexico State Aggies following the 2010 season after being a two-year starter for the Huskies under former and current head coaches, Lynn Cain and Steve Mojarro.
Harris accumulated 38 total tackles, 10 pass breakups and an interception as a Husky, garnering Second-Team All-Mountain Conference recognition his sophomore season.
Harris returned to both his alma maters on Monday, ELAC and Dorsey High School and spoke with the current players.
As the Huskies open spring ball, he stressed the importance of working hard.
“Playing here really prepared me for Division I football. We weren’t the greatest team when I played here and last season at New Mexico State. So having the experience of playing through bad situations was helpful,” Harris said.
In his two-year stint with the Aggies, he totaled 83 tackles and was named to the first-team All-Western Athletic Conference his senior season.
Harris played under current Jaguars Defensive Backs Coach DeWayne Walker at New Mexico State.
The Roundup Daily, New Mexico State’s student publication, quoted Harris saying, “This is a true blessing to be drafted by Jacksonville.
“This just proves that hard work pays off in the end. To be going to Jacksonville and play for my former coach in college is the perfect situation for me. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Replacing the depleted secondary was a need for Jacksonville. The Jaguars split apart from five defensive backs from last season’s roster.
Cornerbacks Derek Cox, Rashean Mathis, Aaron Ross and Will Middleton, and strong safety Dawan Landry anchored a defense that allowed 213.7 passing yard, placing 21st overall in the NFL.
Harris was the fourth defensive back selected by the Jaguars in the draft, preceded by second-round safety Jonathan Cyprian (Florida International University), third-round cornerback Dwayne Gratz (University of Connecticut) and sixth-round cornerback Josh Evans (University of Florida)
Harris explained the moment when he was selected. “I was just chilling playing NBA 2K and I got the call asking if I wanted to be a Jaguar and I said “of course.” That was how it went down.”
Smith is the second Husky to enter the NFL in recent years. Green Bay Packers receiver Shaky Smithson was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2011 after playing college ball at Utah. He played for the Huskies from 2007-8.
The Jaguars will look to rebound from a 2-14 season. They haven’t had a winning record since 2007.