All-Name Team Smoke Harris has been around the game of college football since 2018, and he has some solid seasons to his name. But 2023 figures to be a whole other animal for his production. Listed at 5’7″, he is a diminutive player who operates out of the slot, but this RB-sized receiver might be the cherry on top for your CFF champion squad this season.
Coaching & System
HC Sonny Cumbie joined Louisiana Tech (LT) in the 2022 season, spending the previous year as the OC at Texas Tech (2021), and the OC at TCU the seven seasons before that (2014-2020).
In his first season with LT, Cumbie’s two leading WRs—the Harris bros (Smoke and Tre) combined for 131 receptions, 1,575 yards, and 15 TDs. Tre Harris is now gone (transferred to Ole Miss), vacating 103 targets, 65 receptions, 935 yards, and ten TDs. Unfortunately, neither went for over 1,000 yards, but with Tre now out of the picture, Smoke might get there in 2023.
Cumbie’s WR1 at Texas Tech in 2021 was Erik Ezukanma, who caught 48 passes for 705 yards and four TDs.
During his time at TCU, his 2018 WR1—Jalen Reagor (still upset Philly took him over JJ), caught 72 passes for 1,061 yards and nine TDs. Cumbie’s most notable Horned Frog was Josh Doctson in 2015, who caught 79 passes for 1,327 yards and 14 TDs. The year prior (2014), Doctson caught 65 passes for 1,018 yards and 11 TDs.
Cumbie was the co-OC at Texas Tech in 2013 when TE Jace Amaro caught 106 passes for 1,352 yards and seven TDs. The previous two seasons, he served as the inside WRs coach at Tech; he had two 1,000-yard receivers in 2012—one of which was 5’11″ slot receiver, Eric Ward.
Co-OC Jake Brown came to LT with Cumbie from Texas Tech last off-season. He’s been under Cumbie’s wing for most of his young career.
The other co-OC—Scott Parr, spent time as the head coach of division III school Navarro, and OC’d FCS program Eastern Illinois in 2018, after originally OC’ing Navarro 2015-17. He also spent time at Texas Tech (2010-13: Offensive Senior Analyst), West Texas A&M (2006-09: Offensive Coordinator), Tarleton State (2005: Receivers), Baylor (2003-04: Graduate Assistant), Abilene Christian (2000-02: Receivers, Special Teams) and Sam Houston (1998-99: Running backs).
Parr’s lead receiver last time he OC’d (Eastern Illinois), caught 79 passes for 1,090 yards and 16 (!) TDs.
Credit to @CFFDFS for these stats: in 2022, LT ranked 26th in pass play percentage (55.09%) and 24th in passes per game (36.9). The problem last season was that the Bulldogs were not effective with that pass volume. The good news is that LT will be fielding a new QB in 2023. The bad news is that the new QB is former Boise State starter Hank Bachmeier, who has largely been ineffective in his career. Bachmeier has averaged a 61.6% completion percentage over his career (2019-present).
So the staff here have a strong history of production at the WR position. With Smoke returning off of 100+ targets already, and Tre vacating another 103, the opportunities should be plenty for Smoke to get closer to 70+ receptions.
WR Smoke Harris — 5’7″, 188 lbs.
Harris is entering his sixth season of college ball. His best single season was in 2021, when he caught 71 passes (101 targets) for 756 yards and seven TDs (15.1 FPG in 1PPR). He also saw 100+ targets last season (according to Fantrax): with 66 receptions (103 targets), 640 yards, and five TDs. He’s also been given rush opportunities throughout his career, with eight rush attempts last season and 26 total since his freshman year in 2018.
I think Smoke’s a pretty strong lock for 100 targets again in 2023, making him a high-floor prospect. The more pertinent question is: how high is the CFF ceiling? The answer to that question is really more dependent on the QB’s efficiency. Here’s Cumbie on how the new QB Bachmeier has looked this spring:
He’s definitely come back from the spring more determined in these last few weeks of our workouts, in the weight room and in our throwing sessions. From an offensive standpoint, anytime you have a quarterback that has started 29 games and play the people he’s played, and won the games he’s won, he’s very experienced, he’s very seasoned.
LT also brought in former Nebraska Husker WR DeColdest Crawford, who, at the very least, is going to challenge Smoke for swaggiest name on the team. There is also returning player Cyrus Allen, who should be in for a strong season too. However, neither of these players is likely to compete for slot snaps, so Harris should have an uncontested path to being the feature guy from the slot.
- A lot of those productive WRs under Cumbie were bigger, boundary guys. As Smoke is operating from the slot, there is not as much of a precedent for heavy production, but there are still some 1000-yard slot guys under Cumbie.
- The QB room doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence based on what we’ve seen so far.
- It’s possible that Cyrus Allen or someone else just steps in for Tre Harris and equals or out-targets Smoke in 2023; in which case, Harris could still see over 100 targets, but his CFF profile might not elevate the way we are hoping.
The good news with Smoke is that — while there are significant concerns about the QB position — the price to acquire him is virtually non-existent. In a standard CFF re-draft, he, more likely than not, is either going undrafted or is being acquired in rounds 16+. As I said in a previous article about Vanderbilt’s WR Will Sheppard, anytime you can acquire a 100+ WR after the tenth round is noteworthy. In this case, the price is even cheaper, making Harris a definite buy for me in the later rounds of drafts.