- Associated Press - Thursday, August 7, 2014

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - When Marcus Harris was beginning his high school football career as a quarterback at Kirkwood High School in St. Louis, he was given a nickname by teammate Jeremy Maclin.

“He called me ‘Superstar,’ but I didn’t like it much,” said Harris, the New York Giants’ rookie wide receiver, talking about his friend Maclin of the Philadelphia Eagles.

“So it got shortened to ‘Soup.’ That stuck.”

Harris signed as a free agent with the Giants out of Murray State last year and spent the season bouncing on and off the Giants’ practice squad. His work in training camp has impressed the Giants’ coaching staff.

The 6-foot-1, 187-pound Harris caught four passes for 48 yards to lead the team in the Giants’ 17-13 preseason win over the Buffalo Bills last Sunday night. He’s already become a fan favorite, as fans were chanting “Sooooooup,” at practice Wednesday night.

“I thought they were yelling, ‘Cruuuuuuz,’ but then I realized it was for me,” Harris said Thursday before the team’s final practice before facing the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday night.

“It was pretty cool. Now everyone is calling me that, even some of the coaches.”

In Sunday night’s game, Harris caught a pass and took a big hit, but got up quickly and mimicked with his hands as if he had a bowl and a spoon in his hands.

“It’s just what I do,” said Harris, who was a standout receiver at Murray State, with 216 receptions and 21 touchdowns during his career that ended in 2010. He had 84 catches for 1,057 yards and nine touchdowns in his senior year.

Harris spent 2012 playing for Omaha of the United Football League and the Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League, the same team that once produced Super Bowl MVP QB Kurt Warner.

Harris was with the Detroit Lions and Tennessee Titans’ practice squads before signing and re-signing with the Giants a total of five times in 2013.

That determination caught the eye of the Giants’ staff this year.

“He’s a tough kid,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. “He’s out there on special teams and he’s making plays. He’s had some nicks, but he’s out there. He’s caught the ball well. He’s usually been in the right spot.

“The person who takes advantage of the opportunity given to him is where it starts. If you come in, be focused, work hard and stay out there day in and day out and be persistent the way this young man has done, well, that’s a good thing. He’s gotten better enough to be recognized.”

Harris knows that the Giants have had a history of keeping undrafted free agents. One in particular is fellow receiver Victor Cruz.

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