May 25, 2024

Meet Monte Harrison, the former MLB player who will join Arkansas as a 28-year-old walk-on wide receiver


Arkansas is adding 28-year old former MLB player Monte Harrison to its football roster. Harrison, who was a four-star recruit in the Class of 2014, will join the Razorbacks as a walk-on wide receiver ahead of the 2024 season, according to 247Sports

Harrison, who now measures in at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, took an unofficial visit to Fayetteville, Arkansas, in April. 247Sports notes that Harrison also had opportunities to play football at Nebraska and Tennessee prior to choosing Arkansas. 

Ironic, given that Harrison initially signed with the Huskers (to play football) out of Lee’s Summit (Missouri) West High School in 2014. He was the No. 52 wide receiver and No. 7 prospect in the state of Missouri in his class. 

“Best pure athlete I’ve ever seen,” says 247Sports’ Michael Bruntz, who covered Harrison as a recruit when he signed with Nebraska in 2014.

But he never suited up for Nebraska. He was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the second round of that summer’s 2014 MLB Draft and signed a rookie contract with a $1.8 million bonus out of high school. He’d spend the next decade bouncing around various minor league farm systems, with brief stints in the majors in between. 

Here’s five things to know about Arkansas’ newest (and oldest) wide receiver. 

Major League contracts paying off

247Sports reports that Harrison will use his professional earnings to pay tuition at Arkansas, allowing him to comfortably play football without the need for a scholarship. That $1.8 million signing bonus he accrued accounts for a vast majority of the money he made playing baseball. 

According to Spotrac, Harrison boasts a career earnings figure of $2,592,449. That number is purely based on contract information and doesn’t take into account any potential release clauses or other sources of income. He made $719,375 with the Miami Marlins from 2019-21 and $73,704 with the Los Angeles Angels in 2022. 

Tracking a busy career 

Harrison spent the first four years of his baseball career in Milwaukee’s farm system. He made it to the Carolina Mudcats, Milwaukee’s Single-A affiliate, in 2017. In January 2018, he was one of four prospects the Brewers traded to the Miami Marlins to obtain outfielder Christian Yelich, who was an All-Star and the National League batting champion in his first two years with the Brewers (2018-19). 

He was immediately listed as Miami’s second-best prospect and made his 2018 debut with Triple-A Jacksonville. He was a 2018 MiLB All-Star and made the 2019 All-Star Futures Game. 

He made his MLB debut on Aug. 4, 2020 against the Baltimore Orioles. In 2021, Harrison bounced between leagues before he was designated for assignment (DFA) in March 2022. 

In April 2022, he signed a minor league contract with the Angels, was promoted to the Majors in June and was DFA in July. He signed a minor league contract with Milwaukee in 2023 and was released in September. 

Making his mark as an MLB player

Harrison had 12 hits in 68 at-bats in the MLB for a career batting average of .176. That included two home runs and six RBI. Here’s some quick hitters about Harrison’s professional career: 

  • He hit his first MLB home run 11 days after he was called up. It came against Atlanta Braves reliever Will Smith, and was the only run Miami scored in a 2-1 loss. 
  • Harrison had Miami’s hardest hit ball of the 2020 season. His double against the New York Mets on Aug. 17 was tracked at 112.6 mph off the bat. 
  • He pinch ran against the Chicago Cubs in the 2020 National League Wild Card Series and stole a base. 

At the minor league level, Harrison was known for his speed and range in center field. He frequently wowed with incredible catches, including this robbery while he was playing for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp: 

Arkansas would certainly love to see that on the football field. 

Harrison has athletic bloodlines 

Harrison isn’t the only professional athlete in his family. His brother, Shaquille Harrison, played college basketball at Tulsa and signed with the NBA’s G League as an undrafted free agent in 2016. 

Shaquille Harrison signed a 10-day contract with the Phoenix Suns in 2018 and made his NBA debut on Feb. 23, 2018. When Monte Harrison made his MLB debut in 2020, he and Shaquille became the sixth pair of brothers to play in the NBA and MLB, joining notable figures like Trayce Thompson (New York Mets) and Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors). 

Shaquille appeared in 183 games with 23 starts in eight years in the NBA. He also averaged four minutes per game in 17 playoff appearances. 

Baseball stars nothing new for Arkansas football

Arkansas has an extensive history of multisport athletes, especially when it comes to players that double-dip in baseball. Cole Barthel played baseball from 2001-05 before joining Arkansas as a 22-year old true freshman quarterback. 

Former Razorbacks quarterback Barry Lunney Jr., who’s now the offensive coordinator at Illinois, played both football and baseball for the Hawgs. Connor Noland followed a similar path with Arkansas in 2019 before focusing solely on baseball later in his career. 

D’Von McClure’s story is most similar to Harrison’s. He signed to play baseball at Arkansas in 2011 but was selected in the 2012 MLB Draft and spent four seasons in the minors. He returned to the Razorbacks in 2016 as a linebacker and actually started six games at nickelback in 2018. His brother, DeShone, even played in the NBA G League. 





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