The Patriots fell to the Chiefs 27-17 on Sunday in a somewhat competitive matchup, with the Chiefs ultimately pulling away in the end. New England has now dropped to 3-11, mathematically eliminating them from playoff contention. The lone rushing touchdown for the Patriots was scored by the second year running back and recently elevated practice squad player, Kevin Harris.
Harris was drafted by the Patriots in the 6th round of the 2022 draft with the 183rd overall pick out of South Carolina and was the first Gamecock to ever be drafted by Bill Belichick. At South Carolina, Harris had a productive career, putting up 1,976 yards and 23 touchdowns in three seasons. With the Gamecocks, Harris had eight games with over 100 yards and two 200-yard games, he also had two carries for over 75-yards in his collegiate career.
In his freshman season, Harris played in six games and picked up nearly 180 yards and four touchdowns on 21 carries. Harris would then have his best season in his sophomore year, playing in ten games and carrying the rock 185 times for 1,138 yards and 15 touchdowns, as well as averaging 7.6 yards per carry. Harris would also contribute in the passing game, catching 21 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown.
Harris’ production would dip in his 2021 junior season due to an offseason back surgery he had in 2020. Harris would still play in all 12 games and have 152 rushing attempts for 660 yards and four touchdowns, he also had 11 receptions for 89 yards. Harris would then declare for the NFL Draft after his junior year.
When watching Harris' college film, he shows no shyness from contact, showing an old-school violence to his running, as well as good contact balance. The running back has a decent second gear, with a north and south approach to running. In college, Harris was most proficeint in running between the tackles.
Harris hails from Hinesville, Georgia where he played high school football at The Brodwell Institute, a public school in Hinesville. At the Brodwell institute, Harris would earn Georgia region 2-AAAAAA player of the year in both his junior and senior seasons. In his junior year, Harris rushed for 1,680 yards and six touchdowns, he would follow up that effort with a stellar senior year, picking up 1,556 yards and 22 touchdowns. Coming out of high school, the Georgia native had offers from Army, Navy, Airforce, Cornell, Furman, The Citadel, Middle Tennessee State, Tulane, and Wafford, but would ultimately go with South Carolina.
In the NFL, Harris is not that versatile, but the stuff that he is good at he’s really good at, like breaking tackles and being a punishing downhill runner. Standing at 5’10’’ and weighing 225 pounds, Harris has that classic big bruiser frame, having thick tree trunk legs as well as a strong, hulking upper half. When he gets going, Harris is akin to a runaway train. Harris’ proficiency in angry running was on display for his 18-yard touchdown run on Sunday, where he squeezed himself up the gut and broke two tackles, carrying a Chief with him into the endzone.
Harris finished the game aganist Kansas City with four carries for 25 yards and a touchdown, these stats double as his season stats thus far, with Sunday being his first regular season game of the season. Last year, Harris put up 52 yards and a touchdown on 18 attempts. When the South Carolina product first came to New England after being drafted, he signed to the practice squad in August of ’22, he remained there until his number was called in week six at Cleveland. Harris was elevated to the active roster for the Cleveland game and had three carries for five yards.
The running back would see some more action in week 14 of the ’22 season in Arizona, filling the gap for an injured Rhamondre Stevenson. Harris would finish the game against the Cardinals with eight carries for 26 yards and a touchdown. The following week in Vegas, Harris made his first NFL career start, picking up 19 yards on five carries. So far as a Patriot, Harris has played in six games, and has put up 77 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.
Since the loss to the Chiefs, Harris has since reverted back to the practice squad. If Stevenson is still out, it is likely that Harris will travel with the Patriots to Denver for a Christmas Eve matchup against the Broncos, who currently have one of the worst rushing defenses in the league. If Harris travels with the team, it would be expected that he will be seen once again, being a relief for Zeke, or maybe even splitting carries if he shows enough in practice during the week. New England is expected to sign Tampa running back Ke'Sawn Vaughn to the practice squad, so Harris may have some competition. With the season approaching an end, Harris may have another chance to prove himself to be an asset for the organization moving forward.
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