Harris headed to Dallas

Published 10:57 pm Saturday, April 30, 2011

GREENVILLE — East Carolina wide receiver and return specialist Dwayne Harris was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the sixth round (176th overall) of the 2011 National Football League Draft Saturday.

Harris is the eighth ECU receiver in history to be drafted and immediately follows defensive end C.J. Wilson, who was taken by the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers in the seventh round of last year’s draft after defensive tackle Linval Joseph and punter Matt Dodge were selected earlier by the New York Giants.

The Pirates have had at least one player chosen in the last six consecutive years and in 17 of the past 22 drafts.

Harris, who was a first-team all-conference selection as a wide receiver and punt returner in 2010, set Pirate single-season records with 1,123 receiving yards and 101 receptions. He became one of only three ECU pass catchers to ever record over 1,000 receiving yards in a year and the only one with 90 or more grabs during a season. In his final campaign, Harris led C-USA in receptions per game (7.8) while standing third in receiving yards per game (86.4) and all-purpose yards per game (176.0), and fourth in punt return average (11.7). Among all 2010 FBS players, he ranked fourth in all-purpose yards per game and sixth in receptions per game. Harris also finished in the top 25 at the FBS level in total reception yards (15th), receiving yards per game (18th) and punt return yards per game (21st).

In the East Carolina career record books, Harris established program-best marks for receptions (268) and receiving yards (3,001) and is the only Pirate to ever surpass even the 2,000-yard milestone. He also ranks second on the program list in career touchdown catches with 20. In C-USA history, Harris stands fifth in career receptions and all-purpose yardage, seventh in kickoff returns and kickoff return yardage and 10th in receiving yards.

An all-around threat, the Stone Mountain, Ga., native owned East Carolina’s longest punt return (56 yards) and rush (49) last season while also contributing a 39-yard touchdown pass. He had a team second-best 48 receptions resulting in a first down and squad-high 20 grabs on third-down plays. Harris was also the Pirates’ offensive leader with 13 “big plays” (20-plus yards), all receptions.

Harris, who will turn 24 on September 16, joins Aundrae Allison (Vikings/2007),Troy Smith (Eagles/1999), Larry Shannon (Dolphins/1998), Dion Johnson (Oilers/1992), Walter Wilson (Chargers/1990), Ricky Nichols (Colts/1985) and Tim Dameron (Oilers/1973) on the list of Pirate wide receiver draft picks. He is also the first ECU offensive player chosen since tight end Davon Drew was a fifth-round selection of the Baltimore Ravens in 2009.

Including Harris, other Pirates drafted by the Cowboys include RB Leslie Strayhorn (1973), LB Harold Randolph (1978), DB Chris Hall (1992) and LB Robert Jones – a first-round choice in 1992.