Trevor Harris, the starting quarterback for the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts and former Edinboro signal caller returned to his alma mater on Saturday afternoon at Sox Harrison Stadium for the Fighting Scots’ PSAC football opener against eastern division foe Shippensburg. Harris was among the honorary game captains for the Scots’ second contest of the 2015 season.
Harris threw for 11,899 yards and 100 touchdowns in his time at Edinboro. He still holds every single game, single season and career passing record in attempts, completions and yards.
Harris spoke about the success he’s having in the CFL after making his way from a backup to the leader of the offense. “I think it’s a metaphor for life,” he said. “I think a lot of times you’re not in the position that you want to be in. You’ve just got to keep scratching and clawing and eventually if you continue to seek the will of God, I feel like it’s going to end up working out for you.”
The 6-foot-3-inch, 212 pound Waldo, Ohio native spent three years as a backup in Toronto with various spot starts, including his first ever regular season start as a professional quarterback on June 19 of 2012 against Montreal, before taking the reins this summer for the Argos. Since taking over as the full-time starter earlier this summer, Harris has amassed 2,921 yards passing (3rd in CFL), 22 touchdown passes (2nd) to just nine interceptions and a completion percentage of 72.3 (259-of-358 passing) in the 2015 campaign.
After Harris took the reins at quarterback due to injury, the Argonauts have gone 7-5 through his 12 starts on the season, which began with a 30-10 win at Montreal on June 18. “I’ve just tried to take the opportunity and kind of stay the course and do what they taught me when I was here at Edinboro when I became a man,” Harris said. “I’m just excited to be a part of the process in Toronto.”
Prior to joining the Argonauts, Harris had been released at the final round of NFL preseason cuts by the Jacksonville Jaguars back in the summer of 2010 before joining the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League that November. Harris also made stops in Sacramento with the Mountain Lions of the United Football League as well as Orlando to re-enter the AFL with the Predators. Upon joining the Argonauts on March 29, 2012, Harris’ process would begin, albeit as a reserve, on a successful team as the Argonauts claimed the 2012 Grey Cup with a CFL championship win over Calgary.
“It’s a big difference,” Harris said of the nature of the CFL. “A lot of people don’t really think about it. The field is wider and longer, so the fact that it’s wider causes a lot more real estate to be covered by the defense. The fact that you can use that to your advantage is awesome, but you only get two downs to get a first down as opposed to three, so that’s obviously a big difference.”
Harris sees several other differences from playing in the PSAC to suiting up in the CFL. Applying concepts and approaches from the Division II level, however, have helped him not only on the field, but in the area of coaching as a potential avenue down the road.
“Then you have the punt rules, the single point and all these kinds of things,” Harris continued. “It’s a different game, but it’s a really good game. There are different concepts that I’ve learned up there that have been really applicable for me that I feel like when I become a coach someday I’ll be able to use.”
Harris, who held a graduate assistant position on the Edinboro staff for a short time period after playing for the Scots, made it clear that coaching is definitely in his future plans.
“It’s obviously a big part of my life plans,” Harris said. “My biggest passions are helping kids and football. The common denominator is coaching. I want to use that as my own personal ministry for kids and helping out kids and giving kids guidance who aren’t getting that guidance It’s a good way for me to work into that and I’ve actually almost taken a job here at Edinboro a few times.”
One element that Harris has experienced since gaining professional status is receiving messages from individuals on the college level, at Edinboro specifically, about the possibility of accomplishing their goals and aspirations of playing in the pro leagues.
“I tell any of the kids that Coach [Scott] Browning recommends to me that if they have a chance to let me know,” Harris said. “I’d love to help them out. I’m just blessed to be a part of the Boro family. I’m just grateful that I got an opportunity to play at this tremendous university.”
Mike Fenner is a staff writer for The Spectator.