Syracuse Football: Orange losing top receiver Taj Harris is a big-time blow

Syracuse football wide receiver Taj Harris electing to enter into the NCAA’s transfer portal is not the best news to receive at any point in the season. It is especially not ideal the day after a close loss to Florida State University, given that Harris was one of the Orange’s biggest playmakers.

Taj did not travel with the team to FSU and no formal announcement was made about the reason for the decision nor do we know exactly why Taj is leaving now. I will reserve too much judgment and choose not to trash the young man until I hear (if we ever do) the definitive reason behind the decision, and I will wish him the best wherever he chooses to go from here.

I do wonder what happened between Taj being chosen as a representative of the team for the ACC preseason media event until the present, given the drastic change in the direction he has taken. I’m not in the locker room nor am I in his head so I don’t know if he has something going on in his life that impacted this or if it’s because of the current style of play the Syracuse football offense is running lately.

Syracuse football will have to regroup after losing WR Taj Harris to the transfer portal.

Maybe he has a nagging injury that he feels like he needs to rest before trying again next season or maybe his personal situation or classroom situation has caused him to reconsider his future. Who knows?

Syracuse football, since naming Garrett Shrader starting quarterback in the Liberty game, is noticeably going run first and not really looking to pass often, especially longer pass attempts it seems. Taj seemingly goes from being Tommy DeVito’s number 1 target to possibly feeling like he’s not going to be utilized as much as he thought he would be.

Again, I don’t know for certain this is his reasoning behind seeking a transfer mid-season and one can only speculate since most likely the official response will be “we only talk about players currently on our roster.”

Last year, Taj Harris made a questionable gesture to the camera while on the bench during a game, which caused some repercussions from fans and the team to handle the situation internally.

His being chosen as a leader before the season made me think he was ready to assume a leadership role, and this transfer merely fuels those who disliked the gesture and rumors of his attitude behind the scenes.

And while we might wonder how he went from representing the team at the ACC preseason press junket to this, the other question left is, who next fills his slot? Taj has been the most skilled playmaker at the receiver position over the last couple of seasons, including 16 receptions for 171 yards so far this season.

I know many are going to say he quit on the team or his attitude led to this and the timing on the decision is less than stellar for this team, but until I know for sure, I’ll leave that to those who know.

The one thing I do know is that his production will be missed, but I think receivers like Damien Alford, Anthony Queeley, Courtney  Jackson and others can step up and make plays if called upon, with TE Luke Benson also looking ready to return to the field soon as well.

As Coach Scott Shafer was famous for saying, “Next man up!” and in this case, for now at least, I will wish Taj well wherever he goes, but this is an opportunity for others to step up and make names for themselves.