New York Jets Coach Rex Ryan on the Rise of Damon Harrison

By Alan Schechter

Jul 31, 2013; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets center Dalton Freeman (right) blocks defensive tackle Damon Harrison (94) during training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

One of the bigger feel good stories for this New York Jets’ team is DT Damon Harrison. Entering the team last season as an undrafted free agent, he began 2012 on the practice squad. He worked his way up, made it to the active roster during the latter part of 2012. Now, 2013 is here, and he has improved so much, that he didn’t even play in the 4th preseason game, an outstanding step for a UDFA in only his second year.

He has been spoken about as one of the hardest workers out there, and it paid off in the game against the Giants, where he recorded 7 solo tackles. He will be quite the asset on a deep Jets’ defensive line. Here is what Rex had to say about him yesterday as well as the importance of the nose tackle position which Damon plays as well:

You have to find a guy (to) not just occupy space but (that) makes plays and (has) short-area quickness. Obviously, Damon and some traditional nose tackles are giant people. A good nose tackle occupies at least two blockers. So I think that’s part of the job description. If you can get blocked by one person as a nose tackle, then you’re not going to be long for that position. It has to take two guys. That’s basically why people are playing that odd front and putting that guy over the nose. Damon’s done a tremendous job at that. There’s a young man that’s really ascended. When he came out of a small college, he had a long way to go, but he’s a hard worker. He’s got an outstanding coach in Karl Dunbar and he’s taken off. Really you see his maturation coming on with all the other young defensive linemen we have as well with Muhammad (Wilkerson) and Quinton Coples and all these young guys, Kenrick Ellis. These guys are all improving at the same time and that’s a good thing for us, obviously.

Damon’s rise has been brilliant, and it’s great when the coaches notice. And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.