By MIKE READLING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 24, 2002
Southern Mississippi receiver Rocky Harrison, a former standout at Tampa Catholic, is out indefinitely after a freak injury sustained during an intra-squad scrimmage Aug. 14.
Harrison, a Golden Eagles sophomore fighting for a starting position, stretched out to haul in a Zac White pass and tucked the ball away before landing directly on top of it. It was his fourth catch for 74 yards, but he immediately left the game with what was thought to be bruised ribs.
Harrison, 21, dressed and went home before he noticed blood in his urine. He was immediately checked into a Hattiesburg hospital where he was diagnosed with a lacerated kidney, bruised pancreas and bruised intestines. When his condition failed to improve doctors performed surgery Aug. 17 to quell internal bleeding.
Harrison remained in the intensive care unit Friday, making slight progress.
"He still has a long way to go but he is making improvements," Southern Miss head coach Jeff Bower said.
"It's going to be a long haul back for him but he's fighting it and getting better."
As a senior at Tampa Catholic in 1999, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Harrison was an All-Suncoast selection by the Times and was named to the Class 2A All-State first team after leading Hillsborough County with 867 receiving yards on 42 catches. He scored 14 touchdowns and had 20.6 yards per catch.
Last season at Southern Miss, he played in all 11 games and finished with 21 catches for 268 yards and a touchdown. He had at least one reception in every game, including a career-long catch of 56 yards.