Commentary

His time to shine

Updated: January 19, 2009, 12:01 PM ET
By Mike Loveday | ESPNRISE.com

One of the questions surrounding the Arundel (Gambrills, Md.) football team at this point last year was whether Alec Lemon could replace Brandon Johnson-Farrell's production. One year and two public school records later, that question is now being asked about R.J. Harris.

R.J. Harris

Owens

Wide Receiver
Arundel Wildcats

2008 Season Stats
Rec Yds TD Avg Long YPG
76 1058 20 13.9 60 81.4

Lemon, a Syracuse commit, tied the Maryland public school record for most touchdown receptions in a season (23) and the most receptions in a season (103) -- records set by Johnson-Farrell in 2007.

This fall, Harris will assume the role vacated by Lemon's graduation and, according to coach Chuck Markiewicz, could be the next incarnation.

"R.J. is probably at the same stage that Alec was last year," Markiewicz said. "I wasn't sure Alec was going to be a Division I player last year, but he made tremendous improvement in the offseason. If [Harris] makes those kind of improvements between now and then, I'm sure that he'll have the same kind of year [as Lemon did this season]."

Harris made 76 catches for 1,058 yards and 20 touchdowns during his junior season. Lemon made 73 catches for 969 yards and 13 touchdowns during his junior season.

The biggest challenge for Harris could be that he may not have himself as the second receiver in Arundel's wide-open offense.

"The thing Alec had going for him was R.J., and the thing R.J. had going for him was Alec. They had each other and you couldn't double-team them." Markiewicz said. "If we don't find a couple more receivers, it might be tough for R.J. We have a couple kids that we think can do the job, but we're not certain about them at this point."

Arundel loses three of its top four receivers from last season -- graduating players who combined for 208 receptions. The top returning receiver, outside of Harris, is junior Greg Korvin, who made five catches for 18 yards last season.

Harris does have the advantage of working with a returning quarterback; he will catch passes from Billy Cosh for a second straight season. Lemon spent his first year working with Nick Elko; Cosh took over the next season. Cosh owns several Maryland state records, including the most touchdown passes in a season (56) and most passing yards in a season (3,913).

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Mike Loveday covers high school sports for ESPNRISE.com. Mike can be reached at Michael.Loveday@espn.com