'No regrets' for Owls' Harris over leaving Boston College

Montel Harris chose Temple after Boston College kicked him off the team. Above, QB Chris Coyer hands off to him.
Montel Harris chose Temple after Boston College kicked him off the team. Above, QB Chris Coyer hands off to him. (DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff)
Posted: August 23, 2012

Montel Harris says he has no regrets.

In his first interview since he was kicked off Boston College's football team, the preseason all-American did not seem concerned Tuesday about his failure to finish his career as an Eagle.

"I don't regret anything," said the fifth-year senior tailback, who transferred to Temple in July and gained immediate eligibility. "I think everything happens for a reason.

"Me coming to Temple allows me to still be able to play football and have a chance at the next level."

Some websites have reported that Harris, who is Boston College's career rushing leader, was dismissed because of a strained relationship with Eagles coach Frank Spaziani.

Boston College said only that Harris was dismissed for a "repeated violation of team rules."

Harris will not disclose the reason for his exit in May.

"I can't let that get me down," Harris said of rumors about the reasons for his dismissal. "Things were said the way they were said. But the people who really need to know, know what happened. And it's not what everyone thinks."

In his short time at Temple, the Florida native has been recognized for being a great teammate.

"He's just been a great kid," Owls coach Steve Addazio said. "He has a great sense of humor. He works really hard.

"He's very accountable. You don't have to tell him to do anything twice. He operates and handles himself as a veteran player."

And he is finally a healthy player.

The 5-foot-9, 207-pounder received a medical redshirt after playing in only two games last season with a recurring knee injury. He also missed the Eagles' spring practices.

"It was my left knee, but most people can't tell," said Harris, who originally tore knee cartilage in a November 2010 game against Virginia. "I have been working real hard to get my strength back. And I think it's ready to go."

The Owls hope so.

On paper, Harris is better than former Temple running back Bernard Pierce, a third-round pick by the Baltimore Ravens in April's NFL draft.

With 3,735 rushing yards in his career, Harris ranks first among active Football Bowl Subdivision running backs.

Harris is also Boston College's career leader in 100-yard games (22) and carries (786) and ranks third in touchdowns (27). He was 867 yards shy of the Atlantic Coast Conference career rushing mark of 4,602, set by North Carolina State's Ted Brown (1975-78).

A black belt in karate, Harris said martial arts have helped him on the field.

"Karate brings a couple of things I can use on the football field as far as discipline, balance, and being able to get defenders off of me," said Harris, who will take graduate courses in adult organizational development this fall. He is eligible to play immediately at Temple because he is taking a graduate course that is not offered at Boston College.

Temple plans to use Harris and Matt Brown in tandem, similar to the one-two punch that Pierce and Brown provided for the last three seasons.

Harris is more of a power back, while Brown is a scatback.

"I feel like we can do a lot in the backfield," Harris said. "We feed off of each other. He's high energy. He keeps me going.

"We are going to be able to make some big plays this year."

Receiver leaves team. Senior wideout Malcolm Eugene told Temple's coaching staff Monday that he had decided to play elsewhere.

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound backup had been struggling during training camp.

A 2010 junior college all-American at ASA College in New York, Eugene had two receptions for the Owls last season.

Contact Keith Pompey at 215-854-2939 or kpompey@phillynews.com. Follow @pompeysgridlock on Twitter. Read his blog, "Owls Inq," at www.philly.com/owlsinq

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