The Backstory: The term 'athlete' wasn't tagged on incoming recruits back in the 1970s, yet No. 41 belonged in the club. The concept of multi-tasking still seems to be over my head, let alone mastering three different crafts. After consistently supplying ABC highlights, John Harris became a fan favorite. More importantly, the versatile nature of Harris gave the Sun Devils a rare gadget others coveted.
The Player: John Harris (1975-1977)
Watching Harris play for four years would've been ideal, but he supplied four years worth of production in only two seasons. At first, Harris didn't garner playing time. However, the legendary Frank Kush saw Harris's potential and decided to turn him loose. Harris stepped into the first team duties on defense and special teams, and validated Kush's decision.
Let's break it down area-by-area and start with punt returning. Harris was the ASU version of Devin Hester, showcasing touchdown capabilities whenever he got the pigskin. In 1976 and 1977, Harris accumulated one touchdown return in each season.
On the defensive side of the ball, Harris really honed his skills. Harris played safety and was the backbone of the unit, causing offensive coordinators to track his whereabouts every snap. During the 1976 campaign, Harris tallied seven interceptions, and followed it up with five in 1977. By doing so, the Associated Press choose Harris to their Honorable Mention All-American team in both seasons. Therefore, the All-Western Athletic Conference also gave Harris First Team honors.
Beyond the gridiron, the restless nature and hard working mentality of Harris didn't stop. Throughout the entire three year tender at ASU, Harris made Academic All-WAC. There was nothing Wac about the accomplishment, as he displayed a bright future aside from football.
Who Wears it Now: No current players on the ASU roster wear number 41.
Jimmy Verdon - Three-year starters aren't too common, and Verdon was an exception at defensive end. Verdon appeared on the All-Conference team twice, once as an honorable mention and then on the second squad. At the 2005 East-West shrine game, Verdon dominated and took home MVP.