After Pit Stop At Charlotte, Tre Harbison Is Ready For A Shot At The League

USATSI_15139933_168383134_lowres.jpg

Perhaps you have known someone, or are that someone, who wishes they took greater advantage of the learning opportunities college offers. Charlotte 49ers running back James “Tre” Harbison III, on the other hand, soaked up learning opportunities.  

A standout ball-carrier, Harbison didn’t rest on his laurels as a two-time 1,000-yard rusher. Instead, he grabbed his notepad and pen to hit up special teams meetings, he took on new responsibilities in his final season at the college level, and prepped for the changes of the game.  

Football is ever-evolving, but the game has undergone changes in the past decade with remarkable speed — and speed is the changes’ catalyst. 

In 2011, NFL media marveled as New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady took a vast majority of snaps from the shotgun and the team attempted almost 200 more passes than rushes. One season prior, nine quarterbacks around the League attempted 500 or more throws in both the regular season and Playoffs combined. 

Through the 2020 regular season, nearly half of the entire NFL’s starting quarterbacks attempted 500-plus passes. The role of running backs has shifted, as well. In 2010, seven ball-carriers rushed more than 300 times compared to just two in the 2020 campaign. 

Every-down backs who charge through the tackles are more luxury than necessity these days, but a back who can pick up blitzes or function as a fourth, fifth, sixth option in the passing game? He’s a must-have for any pro roster. 

It took a generation, but the NFL has made the collective shift that began in college football around the turn of the millennium. Harbison transferred to Charlotte ahead of the 2020 season, recognizing the direction the sport has trended and eager to prepare himself for the future. 

“I was able to work on parts of my game I didn’t necessarily ,” Harbison said. “It gave me an opportunity to mold my game for the pro level.”

Harbison gets to present his lessons in the lead-up to the 2021 NFL draft, starting in Orlando with the Tropical Bowl. 

He’s playing for the American team in the all-star showcase, culminating a career in which he repped Northern Illinois and Charlotte. 

Harbison rushed for 2,682 yards combined in his four years and scored 20 touchdowns — four in the truncated, six-game 2020 season. 

“I’m a powerful runner. I’m always looking for the tough yards,” he said, describing his rushing style. 

The game will always have a place for hard-running grinders, but only those who can also fit into the changing landscape reliant on a more wide-open passing game. 

That’s where Harbison’s senior-year studies factor in.  

“Pass blocking is very important to have in your arsenal. You have to keep the franchise player healthy,” Harbison said. “Catching the ball out of the backfield, at Charlotte, they gave me the opportunity to work on my game being a pass-catcher.

“That’s the best teacher, experience. We ran the ball a lot, but we were a spread, air-raid type of team,” he said of Charlotte. “Getting the experience to work on outside zones .” 

Harbison also had the opportunity to finish out college at home, contributing to the growth of a fledgling and fast-rising program. Charlotte launched football just seven years ago, and made its first bowl game in 2019.  

The Shelby, N.C., native Harbison got to add his own signature to the still-growing history of 49ers football. If he’s selected in this spring’s NFL draft, he’ll be known in Charlotte lore as the program’s first skill-position player selected. 

For Harbison, who said he has dreamed of playing in the pros since watching games with his father as a grade-schooler, the pursuit of the NFL is worth moment spent in meetings with notepad and pen in hand.

CAA Rewind: Big Second Half Sends JMU Into League Play Riding High

Screen Shot 2021-02-28 at 9.38.27 PM.png

Contrasts in the importance of finishing stronger than a team starts shaped the final weekend before Colonial Athletic Association competition kicks off in the 2021 spring season.  

Led By A Disruptive Defense, Dukes Set To Host Robert Morris

Screen Shot 2021-02-26 at 8.20.48 AM.png

Rarely does a defensive performance get overshadowed when it produces a shutout, but that seemed to be the case with the James Madison defense following Saturday’s 52-0 triumph over Morehead State.

Stony Brook's Sam Kamara Is Back & He's Ready To Wreak Havoc

EuTS8-1WYAY2qp_.jpeg

Sam Kamara plays with a rarely matched ferocity on every snap, in total control of his place in the trenches. But the Stony Brook defensive lineman spent a portion of the past year in a situation beyond his control. 

JMU Running Game Flashes Depth & Dominance In Opener

Screen Shot 2021-02-24 at 1.23.17 PM.png

Numerous Colonial Athletic Association teams have featured multi-pronged rushing attacks through the years, but perhaps no CAA program has enjoyed the depth at running back that James Madison has this season.

CAA Rewind: Dukes Roll, Baughman Steps Up For Elon

Screen Shot 2021-02-23 at 7.29.06 AM.png

More than 13 months passed between the end of James Madison’s last season and kickoff of the current, but the Dukes look like they missed no time at all. 

How To Watch James Madison, Elon Open CAA Spring Regular Season

Download The FloSports iOS App Today

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Elon and James Madison will kick off the unique spring 2021 season with a pair of non-conference games on Saturday. 

Elon Looks To Continue Upward Trajectory On Strength Of Playmaking Defense

Weeks.jpg

A year ago, Elon was among the few programs around college football nearing the end of its spring practice season. The Phoenix were coming off a strong finish to their first season under head coach Tony Trisciani, which concluded with an impressive win over nationally ranked Towson. 

Despite Oddity Of Spring, JMU's Title Aspirations Remain Unchanged

Inside The Rise Of Curt Cignetti

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

James Madison’s first season under coach Curt Cignetti came just a few yards shy of the pinnacle. The Dukes’ 2019 campaign ended at the goal line with a chance to force overtime against North Dakota State in the FCS Championship Game. 

Richmond's Beau English Turns Pandemic Into Law School Opportunity

Beau_English_Elon.jpg

Plenty of us set lofty goals during the forced downtime brought on by COVID-19, but how many can say they reached an especially ambitious milestone?

How to Watch: 2021 Richmond vs William & Mary

Football-Logo-Overlay

Here's how to watch the 2021 Richmond vs William & Mary on FloFootball.