SEC INSIDER

Gators’ Harris out for year with torn Achilles tendon

Sports Xchange

July 20, 2017 at 9:31 am.

Jan 2, 2017; Tampa , FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive back Marcell Harris (26) tackles Iowa Hawkeyes running back Akrum Wadley (25) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 2, 2017; Tampa , FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive back Marcell Harris (26) tackles Iowa Hawkeyes running back Akrum Wadley (25) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Florida senior safety Marcell Harris, the team’s leading tackler last season, will miss the 2017 season because of torn right Achilles tendon, the school announced Thursday morning.

Harris sustained the injury on Wednesday during team-run activities.

Harris made 73 tackles last season, including four for loss, for a Florida defense that ranked fifth in the nation in total defense (293.0 yards per game) and sixth in scoring defense (16.8 points per game).

“As a coach, this is one of the hardest things you are faced with,” Gators coach Jim McElwain said in a statement.

“Here is a kid who has made great personal growth during his time here and has really matured both on and off the field. It is tough to see a player invest so much in himself and his teammates and have this happen, but I do know that we will support him every step of the way as he works through this injury.”

Harris, who has appeared in 37 games in his Florida career, intercepted two passes last season, forced a fumble and recovered one, which he returned for a touchdown against Florida State.

His injury is a big blow to a team that finished 9-4 and won the SEC East. He was one of four returning starters on defense and was one of three players who represented the Gators at last week’s SEC Media Days.

Florida was predicted to finish second behind Georgia in the SEC East in this year’s league media poll.