Tim Harris believes the adversity he faced at Virginia in battling back from injuries will help him long term in the NFL.
Harris, the 49ers' sixth-round pick (198th overall) in the 2019 NFL Draft, suffered two season-ending injuries in college, both at the beginning of the season. His 2016 campaign ended after two games, as he needed shoulder surgery from an injury he suffered the previous year. In 2017, he fractured his wrist in the season opener.
Even though Harris was quickly granted a sixth year of eligibility, it still was a tough road for the young cornerback.
“Especially after my second injury, it was a rough time for me,” Harris said. “... I just put it aside me. I just didn’t want to live 10 years down the road regretting my decision not coming back and playing. And having this opportunity to come here, I think it honestly benefited me going down the road.”
Harris returned for his final season of eligibility at Virginia with a personal best of 36 total tackles, four passes defensed and two interceptions.
Harris had the support of his family, friends and a few current NFL players who kept him focused on his goals.
“I’m close with [safety] Anthony Harris from the Vikings and [cornerback] Maurice Canady from the Ravens,” Harris said. “We kind of grew up together, so it was talking to those guys. Everybody wanted me to fulfill my dreams like I want to, so it was good to talking to those guys. Just keeping me on the right track.”
Harris also has a connection to current 49ers player Richard Sherman, whom he met when he attended Michael Robinson’s youth football camp at Varina High School in Virginia. He recalled that the veteran cornerback spoke to him more about life than football at the time.
[RELATED: 49ers rookie camp notes]
Harris said he already reconnected with Sherman when he was at the facility for his visit before the draft. Harris already has mentioned looking forward to learning from his new teammate.
“He’s a smart football player,” Harris said of Sherman. “He always knows where to be, so I’m going to try to learn as much as I can from him, just because of the type of player he is. I’m just ready to come in and learn from the best."