#3 Chris Harper
Position: Wide Receiver
Previous College: University of Oregon
Status: On Scholarship
Christopher Deon Harper (b. Sept. 10, 1989) is the final profilee this year among those I sometimes refer to as the "lost boys" — Kansas players whom Ron Prince let slip out of state, but later transferred back to play for a real coach.
Brodrick Smith might have been our best wide receiver at the beginning of last year, Sheldon Smith might have been the best this summer and Tramaine Thompson might be the best if healthy, but I think Harper has the most upside.
Consider that this is his first season having actually played the position for a full year prior to it. Even when he saw time at receiver at Oregon, he predominantly drilled with the quarterbacks for most of his freshman year.
It showed, too. He was pretty raw, but he came on strong down the stretch, catching four passes for a career-high 74 yards, including a career-long 38-yarder, against Colorado. He followed that with a difficult TD catch at North Texas.
The Pinstripe Bowl might have been his best effort of the season — he caught five passes in that otherwise forgettable game, and not one of them was called back for a salute. And then there was the spring game.
For most of that glorified exhibition, it appeared Harper would be virtually shut out of the passing game, having only caught one pass for 15 yards, but he provided the "game's" exclamation point with a 7-yard TD on the final play.
Even though it was a "fake" come-from-behind situation, there still was pressure to perform from a crowd waiting expectantly for Harper to join Thompson and the Smiths as touchdown recipients. He passed with flying colors.
I look for big things this year from Harper, who proved especially adept at catching contested deep balls over the middle, as long as the offensive line can give Collin Klein time to throw.