Skip to main content

Gabe Harris disruptive day catches eye of Kirby Smart

Palmber-Thombsby:Palmer Thombs04/17/24


ATHENS, Ga. — Mykel Williams is the Georgia edge defender that’s gotten the most attention this spring, and rightfully so. He’s a leader, and a former five-star making a move from defensive end to outside linebacker to try and unlock his full potential. In doing so, Williams has opened up snaps for a guy like Gabe Harris who’s making the most of the opportunity.

A second-year player out of Valdosta, Harris was recruited to Athens as an outside linebacker. Part of a three-headed monster of a class that also included Damon Wilson and Sam M’Pemba, each of whom ranked in the top-50 nationally, Harris took a different path. With Georgia at a deficit in terms of depth at defensive end early last season, the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Harris found his home.

Harris played in 11 games as a freshman, totaling nine tackles including six solo stops. He had three tackles for loss, backing opponents up 17 yards in the process. While he wasn’t necessarily a go-to-guy for Georgia, Harris certainly was valuable, and entering 2024, he’s making a strong case for more playing time.

“Man, I thought he had a good day today. I can’t say his whole spring was like that, but he was disruptive today,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said after the Bulldogs’ spring game on Saturday. “He’s twitchy, he’s hard to block. I love the way he plays. But he sometimes plays out of control, which can be a good thing and it was good today on some plays. But it also, first play of the game he screwed up, went the wrong way, didn’t line up right. Sometimes you don’t know what you’re getting with Gabe. But you do get great effort and you do get great toughness. I love that.”

Harris recorded a trio of tackles during the 15th and final outing for Georgia this spring including a tackle for loss on running back Roderick Robinson. All that came while working with the first-team, an opportunity he’s been afforded this spring with Tryion Ingram-Dawkins out and Williams working in multiple positions. There’s no certainty that it’ll stick, but if you ask his teammates, they sound like they think it should.

“Gabe’s been constantly growing. He’s been growing since last year,” Williams said about Harris. “He came in with that motor and attitude about him, brought himself to work, and to see it pay off today, it was great.”

Harris is one piece of a Georgia defensive line with something to prove this season. The group has caught criticism for the way it played last season. While things certainly can – and probably should – be better up front, they’re not worried about what the narrative is. Their focus is on finding the room for improvement.

“I have supreme confidence in our group, and I feel like we’re going to keep on working to get better, to perfect our weaknesses. I feel like we’re going to do good this year,” Williams said. “The fight, the pressures, batting balls, causing havoc, I’ve seen a lot of good things out of our group (this spring).”

You may also like