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A low-key celebration of rookie mini-camp opening for Eagles…

The beauty of things for both the Eagles and the entire NFL right now is that we’re on a regular schedule of off-season activities… which actually means we’re officially in Season 2012-13…

Okay. Realization achieved.  Now what?

44 athletes have been invited to the Eagles rookie camp.

The latest arrival is QB Jacory Harris from the U. of Miami, and he’s here to help distribute the ball in passing drills along with rookie draftee QB Nick Foles over the weekend…

Jacory Harris, QB…6-3, 203, Miami…undrafted in 2012…Once upon a time, former University of Miami quarterback Jacory Harris was a budding star. Harris finished with a 30-0 record as a starting QB in high school (Northwestern  Miami HS). Harris was awarded a Class 6A first team all-state selection, the Mr. Football Award of Florida., and Class 6A Player of the Year. Harris attended the 2007 Elite 11 football camp and was ranked as the seventh best pocket-passer quarterback in the nation.

Harris came to University of Miami to compete for the starting quarterback position with former Mr. Florida award winner Robert Marve. Harris and Marve split time as starters, with Marve starting 11 of 13 games. Marve had since transferred out of Miami, leaving Harris the full-time starter heading into the 2009 season. During the 2008 season, Harris led Miami on two comeback drives against the Duke Blue Devils and the Virginia Cavaliers. Harris finished the season with 1,195 yards, 12 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.

In a July 31, 2009, interview with Dan Le Batard, Jacory told the world that he will pick up his Heisman Trophy wearing a pink suit and with a “pimp cup” in hand. He also earned himself a new nickname in this interview: “Afro Butterfly”.

But he now has a part-time job at the NFL level, a week after participating in the Dolphins’ rookie minicamp. The Eagles have signed Harris, adding him to a depth chart that includes Mike Vick, Mike Kafka, Trent Edwards, and rookie third-rounder Nick Foles. That gives the Eagles five quarterbacks, a trend that more teams may be adopting with the offseason rosters now at 90 guys

Harris is a very long shot to make it to the final 53-man roster.  But as least he has a shot — and along the way he may learn something from quarterback guru Andy Reid that helps Harris stick somewhere else

College career statistics

Year Passing Rushing
Comp Att Yards TDs Int Att Yds Avg TD
2008 118 194 1,195 12 7 45 101 2.2 2
2009 242 406 3,352 24 17 48 -219 -4.5 1
2010 148 270 1,793 14 15 29 27 0.9 2
2011 195 300 2,486 20 9 53 88 1.7 0
Totals 703 1,170 8,826 70 48 175 -3 0.0 5

Jacory was involved in the Nevin Shapiro scandal… Shapiro if you recall is the 43-year-old securities investor and U. of Miami booster who was convicted of securities fraud and money laundering from a Ponzi scheme in 2010, used investor funds to finance donations to the University of Miami’s athletic program, and gave an estimated $2 million in prohibited benefits to at least 72 current or former football/basketball players and coaches from 2002 to 2010.

Flamethrower Rap on Harris:  “He made some good plays at the U but he just seemed clueless at times. He seemed unaware of the pass rush and would often throw into massive coverage or just hang up a jump-ball over the middle. Arm seemed good enough but he lacks brain-power…”

Yet you cannot deny: Harris was a three-year starter at Miami, throwing for 8,826 yards and 70 touchdowns, both second in school history.

Keep an eye on the kid, at least for a while. It may never happen for him, but if it does, remember where it all started…

Meanwhile, the Eagles signed fourth-round draft picks Brandon Boykin, along with two other draft choices; Boykin, a cornerback and return specialist from Georgia, guard Brandon Washington (fifth round) from Miami and running back Bryce Brown (seventh round) from Kansas State all signed four-year deals.

Boykin was one of the top kick returners in Southeastern Conference history and also spent some time at running back for Georgia.

Between the start of rookie camp on Saturday and the players’ departure after the final session on Monday, the coaching staff should be able to get a better idea of who will be able to help right away, who has the potential to help down the road and who probably won’t fit in no matter how hard they try. Particularly intriguing are some of the undrafted free agents who, as recent history proves, will have as good a chance as anyone else of proving themselves in this system. The Eagles have developed a reputation over the years as a team that gives relatively obscure talent a fair shake, and with very encouraging results.

Just since Andy Reid became coach in 1999, the Eagles have signed 29 undrafted free agents who went on to play for them.

This year should be no exception. In fact, the Eagles might have landed their best undrafted crop since 2003, when eight wound up making the team (though not all in that season). The most intriguing this year? How about Chris Polk, the running back out of the University of Washington who had no worse than a third-round draft grade by the people who do this for a living but slid all the way out of the draft due to a perceived medical risk? Teams apparently were scared by a shoulder injury that required surgery before his senior season. Even though Polk responded by rushing for 1,341 yards and 15 touchdowns.

“I will just have to go out there and show them I have a lot of great football left in me,” Polk said after the draft. “I know teams are concerned about my shoulder, but I also heard somebody say something about a degenerative hip, and there is just no truth to that. I had labrum surgery on the shoulder a year ago and it didn’t slow me down last season.”

Polk is 5-11, 220 and runs through defenders as well as around them. He graduated a year early, too — always a good sign.
Polk was a late arrival Friday and was not available to talk to reporters as a result. However, you can bet there’ll be a crowd around him on Saturday. Polk has the kind of game that can either complement starter LeSean McCoy or be an adequate replacement for him in case of injury.

Ditto for Bryce Brown, who’s even bigger (6-0, 220) and faster (4.28 seconds in the 40-yard dash), but slipped to the seventh round because he quit the team at Kansas State after transferring from Tennessee and basically had no playing experience to speak of after his freshman season. If he can be motivated, Brown will be the steal of the 2012 draft.