Reviewing the Redshirts is an off-season series meant to resurrect discussion around the current Irish freshmen who did not play in 2012.
There were nine this year who retained a year of eligibility and today we take a look at a young lineman trying to make an impact on the interior.
Mark Harrell, Offensive Guard
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
247: 3-star, No. 52 OT, No. 17 NC, 87 Grade
ESPN: 4-star, No. 41 OT, No. 15 NC, 79 Grade
Scout: 3-star, No. 52 OT
Rivals: 3-star, No. 25 OG, No. 17 NC
Composite: 3-star, No. 51 OT, No. 20 NC
Need at Position: Moderate
Expected Spot on Depth Chart: 2nd or 3rd string
Harrell was a prospect that came out of Charlotte Catholic High School in North Carolina anchoring the Cougars offensive line while also spending some time at tight end. Over his last two seasons at the prep level, Harrell's team rushed for an astonishing 9,899 yards and during his senior season only averaged 13.4 yards passing per game. Talk about a Harrumpher's Delight!™
Harrell is a former teammate of current 2014 running back target Elijah Hood and spent time with him on the recruits recent trip to campus. During Harrell's senior season in 2011 (while Hood was a sophomore) the talented running back rumbled for an outrageous 2,868 yards at 12.9 per rush to go along with 45 touchdowns.
In the recent Depth Chart Engineering post I had Harrell slotted as the backup to Chris Watt at left guard. However, without a fantastic spring practice and fall camp it will be tough for Harrell to see the field ahead of the bigger and older trio of interior linemen in Matt Hegarty, Nick Martin, and Connor Hanratty.
I think it's fair to be skeptical of Harrell's size and how that might limit his ability to one day become a starter. If he was truly 287 pounds last August and creeping towards 3 bills as a sophomore good on him because he doesn't look more than 250 in his senior highlights.
Like many under-sized linemen Harrell has great feet and a nice mean streak. He's certainly not afraid to ride a guy out of the play and plant him on his back or get to the second level and make a nice block. If he can put on good weight there's a chance he could be a nice success story.
For now Harrell at least adds some much needed depth to the interior. We'll see how things shake out following the spring.