Harrison hopes to help new UVA teammates

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Jalen Harrison says it didn't take too long to knock off his football rust after joining the Virginia program.

"First practice, first play, when I first got hit," Harrison recalled as he left the field Saturday at Scott Stadium following UVA's final spring practice. "It kind of wore off, I was like, 'All right, I'm good. Let's do it.'"

Prior to this spring, Harrison last played football in 2015, when he was a senior at nearby St. Anne's-Belfield School. Harrison was a three-time VISAA all-state selection on both sides of the ball for the Saints, and ended his career as the state's fifth all-time leading receiver with 2,658 yards. Harrison also also scored 1,000 career points for the STAB basketball team and hit .400 with four home runs as a senior on the baseball team.

Harrison arrived at UVA in the fall of 2016 as a baseball player. He appeared in 25 games in a UVA baseball uniform, but none this season. So in mid-March, he left the baseball program and joined the football team for off-season workouts.

This spring, the 6-3 Harrison has been working at wide receiver for the Wahoos.

"He's doing great," said UVA quarterback Bryce Perkins. "I mean, he's raw as a receiver, but he's making great plays. He's showing great spurts of speed and acceleration, and being able to catch the ball downfield. So we anticipate him in the off-season getting better, and expanding his role."

Harrison admitted that making the switch to football came with challenges, like learning the Cavaliers' playbook, plus an entire locker room of new teammates. But at the conclusion of his first spring with the Wahoos, the third-year said he's "enjoying every moment of it."

"I have two more years of eligibility, so I'm going to make the best of it and I'm going to give it my all," Harrison said. "It's just something that I've always wanted to do, to be able to help the team as much as I can."



 
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