Montel Harris fits among Big East's best

Now that Temple running back Montel Harris is officially in the Big East, where does he fit in among the best players in the conference?

You could make the case that he is the best player without having ever played a down in the Big East.

His accomplishments speak for themselves. As ACC blogger Heather Dinich points out, Harris would have been chasing the all-time ACC career rushing record had he been at Boston College for this senior season. Harris has more career yards than any other ACC junior in history, with 3,735 (most among all active FBS running backs). He was 867 yards away from the ACC rushing mark of 4,602 (Ted Brown, NC State, 1975-78).

At the start of last season, Harris was the preseason choice as ACC Player of the Year; Heather ranked him No. 5 in her preseason top 25 countdown last August.

He certainly is more accomplished than any returning offensive player in the Big East. The best returning Big East running back is Ray Graham, coming off an ACL injury. By comparison, he has 2,229 career rushing yards.

Now let's take a look at how Harris has done against top competition. Some of his best performances came against Florida State. He ran for over 100 yards in all three of the games he faced the Seminoles.

In 2008, he racked up 121 yards against the then-No. 20 Seminoles. In 2010, he ran for 191 yards (and averaged 7.3 yards per carry) against the No. 16 Seminoles. That year, he also had 100-yard games against BCS rep Virginia Tech (19 carries, 111 yards) and bowl teams Maryland and Clemson.

We obviously will have to wait and see how Harris stacks up among some of the returning talent in the Big East, from Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to Rutgers linebacker Khaseem Greene to Graham to linemen Aaron Donald and Trevardo Williams. Whether or not he is the best is up for debate, but he certainly should be included among the top 5-10 players in the Big East this year.