May 24, 2019

Leadership Role: Harris taking on new responsibility with REDBLACKS

Robert Greeley/OttawaREDBLACKS.com

TORONTO — He’s only played one season with the Ottawa REDBLACKS but that’s not holding receiver R.J. Harris back from taking on a leadership role with the team.

With Ottawa’s training camp well underway at TD Place on Wednesday, Harris found other pass-catchers looking to him for advice.

“It’s crazy,” said Harris. “It’s only my second year but guys are looking to me, Dominique Rhymes guys like that, to lead the receiver group. I think we’ve got a good group of guys at receiver.”

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Harris played in 16 games last season, hauling in 49 catches for 697 yards and two touchdowns in his rookie campaign. Along with Harris and Rhymes, the REDBLACKS have Brad Sinopoli, Noel Thomas, Julian Feoli-Guidino and Marco Dubois, who all saw action in 2018, on their roster. Off-season pick ups Ryan Lankford and Caleb Holley will also fight for the starting spots during the rest of camp.

Those who were with the REDBLACKS last season will have a new quarterback throwing them passes this season, after Trevor Harris headed to the Edmonton Eskimos during free agency. Either former BC Lions pivot Jonathon Jennings or last season’s backup in the nation’s capital Dominique Davis will be tossing the pigskin as the healthy competition ramps up.

Despite the many changes on offence for Ottawa, including the departure of receiver Greg Ellingson and running back William Powell, Harris says the chemistry is already building between the teammates.

“Moving on from just the receiver crew, our whole offence is coming together,” he continued. “We’re clicking well. Offensive line, running backs look good and the competition we have at quarterback, both guys look good. I think we’re doing well so far four days in.”

On the defensive side of the ball, sixth-year free safety Antoine Pruneau has been using his experience to help the rookies get acclimated to the REDBLACKS defence.

“The rookies are doing a tremendous job and I’m trying to lead by example on the field and in the meeting rooms,” said Pruneau. “I think the rookies are doing a good job so far. They’re definitely applying pressure on us (veterans) to get our jobs and they’re doing great on special teams too. That’s what matters to make the team.”

The REDBLACKS open their pre-season schedule on June 1 when they host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.