Dayall Harris has always looked the part.
At 6-foot-4, 185 pounds, the Callaway wide receiver has the size, speed and hands to be a major playmaker. The issue was that the Ole Miss verbal commit didn’t have the production to match all of that talent.
Last season, he finished with 31 receptions for 490 yards and four touchdowns. But Friday night, in a 53-38 win over rival Murrah, Harris showed why many recruiting experts think so highly of him. He had three touchdowns and would have had a fourth if he hadn’t tripped on a kickoff return. Callaway smartly capitalized on Harris’ size, throwing him two jump balls that resulted in touchdown catches.
“The kid played the game of his life,” Murrah coach Zack Grady said. “He did an outstanding job.”
Callaway offensive coordinator Otis Riddley believes Harris has done a much better job of letting the game come to him this year. Both Callaway quarterbacks — Chris Mitchell and T.J. Washington — are also better at getting the ball to the big target.
“His attitude has changed so much from last year to this year,” Riddley said. “He’s the main leader. He’s smart, he’s savvy, he’s very conscious on the football field about what is going on. He brings a different level to our locker room.”
Here are three others who had a big impact:
Rod Taylor, OL, Callaway
The 6-foot-4, 300-pound offensive lineman moved very well and showed off some nice run-blocking skills against Murrah. The state’s consensus top-ranked prospect has become the alpha male on the Callaway offensive line this year, just like Ole Miss’ Aaron Morris and Copiah-Lincoln’s Jocquell Johnson did before him, according to Riddley.
Marquisian “Red Dog” Chapman, RB, Murrah
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound junior running back is the perfect complement to Malik Dear. He’s extremely quick, has good hands and takes some of the defense’s focus away from Dear. Against Callaway, he had three touchdowns, including a 65-yard touchdown catch.
Chapman came into the season as a total unknown after being limited by injuries last season, but he is quickly making a name for himself.
“The kid has excellent ability to make plays in space,” Grady said. “He catches the ball well and runs the ball hard.”
Malik Dear, ATH, Murrah
You’d have to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard about Murrah’s Dear by now. He’s only a junior, but one could easily argue that he is the most dynamic and exciting player in the state.
He showed flashes of that Friday — he had five catches for 140 yards and a touchdown in the first half — but was slowed down by a hyperextended knee. Grady doesn’t expect it to be an issue going forward and is excited about the Chapman-Dear duo.
“When you have a 1-2 punch like that, it is very hard to defend,” he said.