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USC WR Ajene Harris Strains Hamstring

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Ajene Harris with one of his three catches against Oregon State.
Ajene Harris with one of his three catches against Oregon State.
Shotgun Spratling/Conquest Chronicles

USC freshman Ajene Harris had a breakout game for the Trojans on Saturday. After being a standout in Fall Camp, Harris had barely seen the field in USC's first three games, but he saw his first significant playing time against Oregon State.

Harris made the most of it with three catches for 30 yards, including a big 21-yard grab on third down to keep alive a USC drive that eventually ended in a touchdown.

But on Wednesday, Harris missed the majority of practice and USC head coach Steve Sarkisian announced that Harris had strained his hamstring. The severity of the injury isn't known, but it's a definite setback for a player that seemed to be coming into his own.

Despite being a high school quarterback and never playing receiver, Ajene Harris was one of the most exciting players in USC's Fall Camp. That earned him a first-team designation on USC's Week 1 depth chart, but prior to the Fresno State season opener, Nelson Agholor was moved into the slot position, pushing Harris out of the mix.

Agholor was moved back out to the perimeter after the loss to Boston College and Harris seized the opportunity for more playing time, earning praise during USC's bye week leading up to the Oregon State game.

Though the severity is unknown, hamstring injuries are particularly difficult for receivers.

"We'll see how he responds," Sarkisian said. "We're hopeful we can get him back."

If Ajene Harris is unavailable, USC could potentially move Nelson Agholor back into the slot position or the role could be given to redshirt freshman Steven Mitchell.

"I've been talking about Steven Mitchell now for a couple weeks," Sarkisian said. "We'd give him an opportunity to increase his role."

Mitchell missed all of 2013 after tearing his ACL during voluntary workouts on June 7 and is still working his way back to showing the explosiveness and elusiveness he displayed before the injury.