The NFL is a really small world.
Stay with me here.
Former Chargers safety and special teams ace Darrell Stuckey and current Chargers cornerback Chris Harris Jr. were teammates and roommates at the University of Kansas for three years.
In 2010, Stuckey left Kansas and was selected by the Bolts in the fourth round of that year's draft. Harris Jr. declared for the draft in 2011 but was picked up by the Denver Broncos after going undrafted.
Both players wore No. 25 for their respective AFC West teams.
Chargers defensive backs coach Ron Milus was Harris Jr.'s position coach for his first two years in the league before Milus joined the Chargers in 2013…where he coached Stuckey.
With the close ties between these two players, it was only natural to talk to Stuckey to find out more on what the Chargers are getting in his close friend.
"He is exactly who he is all the time," Stuckey said of Harris. "He's one of those guys, who if a coach tells him to do something, he's going to do it to a T…. The other side of that, is he trusts so well. When he approaches a game and in practice, he's going to practice the way he wants to play. He's going to hold a standard and practice the way he wants to play. He wants to compete."
It goes without saying that the reunion between Harris Jr. and Milus will bode well for his transition from the No Fly Zone to the JackBoyz. As Stuckey attested, Milus was the first to take a chance on Harris Jr. nine seasons ago.
Flip through photos of new Chargers cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (No. 16) playing at KU with his then teammate and former Chargers Pro Bowler, Darrell Stuckey (No. 25).
"Chris was an undrafted free agent, and Milus gave him a shot and believed in him enough," he said. "I've been around Milus enough to know he doesn't put people on the field he doesn't trust. Milus is a technician to where he likes players who are going to stick with the technique and do exactly what he expects. He doesn't want you to be a robot, but he wants you to use the tools provided and communicate.
Chris does that on both sides. Chris knows those situations, where a coach is holding a same standard through coaching that he holds as a player. A coach is not going to be afraid to call him out if he's wrong, but also congratulate him if he's right."
Due to his time with the Broncos, Harris Jr. obviously has familiarity with the Chargers. He's quite familiar with a guy he's gone up against many times over the last few years in wide receiver Keenan Allen.
But now, those two get to take their battles to the practice field and Stuckey discussed how those matches will be beneficial for both players, as they'll get to bring out the best in each other.
"You don't get bored when you go against competition like that. Chris brings that exact same mentality to this day to every practice he goes into. He's going to take advantage of opportunities he has to get better every day, and he's excited to be on the field where he knows he's expected to play a certain way."
Overall, Stuckey is excited to wear his No. 25 jersey for a different reason this fall to support his friend, because he knows what Harris Jr. is going to bring to his former team.
"I think he's still peaking," Stuckey admitted. "I think he's at a place where he knows exactly who he is and knows exactly how to maneuver himself in a way in which to compromise other players' weaknesses. He's a team player (and) he's team-oriented."