In recent days, there has been a lot of fuss about current Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco portraying former Baltimore Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas in a biographical motion picture. As has been duly noted, the son of the great Colts QB Unitas, Johnny Unitas Jr., is vehemently opposed to Flacco playing his father in the film. Junior went as far as to call Flacco a “goofball” and imply that a player like Peyton Manning would be more fitting of playing the role because he is a better quarterback.
Whether Flacco is great enough to play Unitas in a Hollywood production or not is a matter for Ravens and Colts fans to mull over. But it does bring up an interesting angle for fans of any team, who would play your famous quarterback?
In Mountaineers lore, there is one quarterback that both old and young fans can look to as a player that would likely end up having his life captured on the silver screen: Major Harris.
The Major came to Morgantown from Brashear High School in Pittsburgh, PA and captivated a state and a good portion of the country with his dazzling athleticism in leading the Mountaineers to their first National Championship shot (against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, 1988).
Major, above all other players in Mountaineers history, is an iconic player that Mountaineers fans would line up to watch a movie about… so long as he was played by someone who was not a “goofball.”
So who would be a great quarterback candidate to play Major?
Once you get past the obvious qualifier, that it has to be a black quarterback. Obviously Marc Bulger would not be a convincing candidate to play Harris on screen. That really narrows the field of candidates to two players: Pat White and Geno Smith.
While Pat White seems to fit the athletic mold of Major Harris in that he was an excellent runner and passer. White and Harris are also of nearly identical build. White is 6’0″ 190 lbs while Harris is 6’1″ 205.
Only hook-up with White is that he throws lefty. Major Harris is a righty, meaning that unless White could learn to throw right-handed, he would not be an ideal candidate.
Geno Smith meanwhile is 6’2″ 200 lbs and a righty. More importantly, it would be an ideal match for WVU fans, having the one of the greatest Mountaineer quarterbacks of all-time portray another all-time Mountaineer great.
I’m sure that Geno Smith would be a well received candidate to play Major Harris in a movie, if that movie ever came to fruition.