University of Florida

Former Booker T. Washington quarterback Treon Harris impresses Florida Gators coaches

Treon Harris signs with the University of Florida during National Signing Day at Booker T. Washington on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. At left is head coach Tim Harris.
Treon Harris signs with the University of Florida during National Signing Day at Booker T. Washington on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. At left is head coach Tim Harris. Miami Herald Staff

Treon Harris was perfect in his collegiate debut.

Literally.

The Former Booker T. Washington High standout dazzled in his first game with the Gators, tossing touchdown passes of 70 and 78 yards in his only two attempts in Florida’s 65-0 romp against Eastern Michigan.

“Those were two really impressive plays,” UF offensive coordinator Kurt Roper said.

“He did a nice job. The design of the first one was to try to have an explosive play, and he read it correctly. The second one we were just trying to throw the ball in the flats and you know they changed coverage on it and he saw it. He had really good vision and moved through his progression pretty quickly and made a heck of a play. It was a good start.”

The freshman quarterback – who led the Tornadoes to three straight State Class 4A championship appearances, winning in 2012 and 2013 – finished 2 of 2 for 148 yards and a pair of touchdowns, earning the admiration of starting quarterback Jeff Driskel.

“His first two passes were touchdowns. My first one was an interception. Thanks for showing me up,” Driskel joked.

Harris ended the game with an other-worldly 1,051.6 quarterback rating.

“He made two huge plays for us, and showed a lot of confidence in what he was doing,” UF coach Will Muschamp said. “That’s something that really appealed to us in the process. That’s something he does well.”

Harris was once a longtime Florida State commit, but the duel-threat signal-caller flipped to UF on National Signing Day, influenced by Roper’s prolific spread attack. Harris ran a similar system in high school and immediately developed a rapport with Roper, despite Florida’s new coordinator entering the recruiting race so late in the process.

“I didn’t know a whole lot about Treon because I wasn’t recruiting him at Duke,” Roper explained.

“And so when he got here, you just turn on his tape and he’s a playmaker. And then you just see how much his team won, that’s always an impressive thing for a quarterback, for your team to win. Those are the things that I saw, that jumped out at us, and made it important to recruit him. And I think that’s what happened in the first game, he just made some plays.”

But now comes the hard part.

Harris is expected to contribute more than a traditional backup quarterback this year, as Roper has designed multiple special packages for the freshman.

How he responds from such a breakout performance, though, is unknown.

“If I had a performance like Treon did my freshman year I would have been on top of the world,” Driskel said. “I wouldn’t have wanted to hear about a play maybe I messed up. It’s just something you have to do and it takes a while to do that.

“But I think Coach Roper is a guy who’s going to keep us humble, but at the same time pat us on the back. It’s kind of a give and take.”

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