ANDERSON, Ind. -- Jonotthan Harrison's college resume screams NFL draft pick.
The Indianapolis Colts rookie was a starter in his final three seasons at the University of Florida. But there Harrison sat during the NFL draft weekend in May waiting to hear his name called.
Now, due to the unfortunate injury to Khaled Holmes (ankle), Harrison is the Colts’ starting center where he has to make sure he gets a clean snap to quarterback Andrew Luck and controls the offensive line.
“It’s definitely a great opportunity,” Harrison said. “It’s very unfortunate what happened to him but at the same time, it’s a great opportunity for me to get in and get the experience, especially in these preseason games. Get the experience needed, God forbid, I have to start off during the season. I’m thankful for the opportunity. I’m thankful for the experience, and I’m definitely going to capitalize on it as much as I can.”
The Colts signed Harrison shortly after the draft. Why he didn’t get drafted is anybody’s guess. It didn't help his draft status that he played on a Gators team that went 4-8 last season, including a home loss to Georgia Southern.
Harrison is here now and outside of two bad snaps caused by his early jitters against the New York Jets last week, is in line to be the Colts’ backup center this season. The Colts are optimistic that Holmes will be back in time for the season opener against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 7. Harrison will continue to start in the meantime alongside fellow rookie guard Jack Mewhort and second-year guard Hugh Thornton.
“It’ll be a great opportunity for us to make sure we’re always on the same page,” quarterback Andrew Luck said about Harrison. “He stepped in there and did a great job. He’s a conscientious guy, he knows his stuff. He didn’t come in with wide eyes looking around like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m here.’ He came in with the intent to score a touchdown, which was great. He’s a good dude, good player and really looking forward to working these next practices with him.”
“It is a little different,” Luck said. “It takes a play or two to sort of get it out of your mind, ‘Okay, there’s a new center in.’ The biggest difference is everybody’s stance is a little different and where that ball hits is a little different. We talked about that’s why it’s so important in practice. Our coaches do a great job making sure every quarterback gets snaps with every center whether it’s in a drill, on the side or in a two-minute practice situation.”