After an offseason of change, what could Year 2 at Auburn look like for Marcus Harris?
The former transfer DT says he's bigger, stronger and focused on being more productive in one key area in 2022. That should make for a fun follow-up campaign.
DT Marcus Harris (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)
With so much around him changing this offseason, Marcus Harris decided to have a transformation of his own.
“Change” has been the buzzword for Harris, the junior defensive tackle who transferred to Auburn from Kansas in 2021 and immediately carved out a role as a starter next to Colby Wooden. Harris finished his first season on the Plains seventh on the team in tackles for loss (6.0) and 13th in total tackles (27).
Harris’ breakout performance came in a midseason win at Arkansas, where he landed on a strip sack for a go-ahead defensive touchdown and then came up with a fourth-down stop in Auburn territory a drive later.
Harris had a season-high six tackles in that game and was instrumental in a home win against Ole Miss a week later. But he missed the following loss at Texas A&M for an undisclosed reason and had limited playing time over the next two weeks before coming through with two tackles for loss — including a sack — in a narrow loss to Alabama in the Iron Bowl.
For a transfer who didn’t arrive at Auburn until the summer, the 2021 season was a strong start to his time with the Tigers. By all accounts, Harris was exactly what the staff was hoping to add when he moved back closer to his home of Montgomery after two years at Kansas.
Returning as a starter with Wooden, there was already a lot to like about Harris’ potential for 2022. Then the reviews from his teammates on the defensive front started rolling in.
“He isn't young, he's been here — but Marcus Harris has changed just his approach to the game,” edge rusher Derick Hall said at SEC Media Days last month. “I think he's really figuring it out now. He's gonna be really good for us.”
New Auburn defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh, who inherited Harris after Nick Eason returned to his alma mater of Clemson this offseason, also saw a major difference in the Park Crossing product.
“Marcus Harris has done a good job of just kind of changing his game and really mixing the power plus the explosion that he has,” Brumbaugh said last week.
So, what should Auburn fans expect out of this new and improved version of Harris?