USC's Steve Sarkisian calls Ajene Harris surprise of freshmen class

USC's Steve Sarkisian calls Ajene Harris surprise of freshmen class
Former Crenshaw quarterback Ajene Harris has transitioned to the wide receiver position at USC so well he is now listed as a starter on the Trojans' depth chart. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Coach Steve Sarkisian wanted each player to have a clean slate when he took over at USC.

But when discussing the freshmen Wednesday, the first year coach said Ajene Harris is the biggest surprise of the class.

Harris, a former quarterback at Los Angeles Crenshaw High, is working as a receiver with the first team offense.

Sarkisian says he knew Harris, 5-feet-11, 180-pounds, was a good enough athlete to play receiver and return kicks, but was unsure how long the transition would take.

"He picked it up really well," Sarkisian said.

Both Sarkisian and Harris credit summer preparation for his progress. Harris worked closely with junior Nelson Agholor.

"He helped with all my routes and just catching and the playbook," Harris said. "Learning from him is big."

"He studied and worked at this thing," Sarkisian said.

Harris is one of multiple freshmen receivers expected to play when USC opens its season Aug. 30 hosting Fresno State.