Jacory Harris came into this season as Miami's cover story, the quarterback who was featured prominently in newspapers and magazines, on televisions and across the Internet.
The perception, he feared, was that some figured he was Miami's lone hope for success.
If it existed, it wasn't correct.
The eighth-ranked Hurricanes are having a slew of unknowns entering the year emerge as key players, including linebacker Darryl Sharpton, defensive tackle Joe Joseph, safeties Vaughn Telemaque and Jared Campbell, special teams standout Cory Nelms, running back Damien Berry and tight end Jimmy Graham _ most of whom hadn't done much, if anything, for Miami before this season.
So now, Harris feels more at ease, no longer thinking all eyes watching Miami are only on him.
"It's real great," Harris said. "You don't want all the attention on you. You just want to go out there and help your team win games. That's what I'm all about. As long as I do enough to help my team, I'm perfectly fine with that. It's not about me."
Well, not entirely.
He's still the quarterback at 'Quarterback U,' and will lead Miami (5-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) on Saturday against Clemson (3-3, 2-2). The Hurricanes haven't gotten off to a 6-1 start since 2005; perhaps coincidentally, that was the last season they faced the Tigers.
"There's a lot of guys who weren't on the radar who have stepped up and done good jobs," Miami coach Randy Shannon said. "That makes a big difference in what we're trying to get done. We've got a lot of guys who've really stepped up and who don't get the publicity and recognition like some other guys."
Clemson's defensive game plan, though, starts with talking about Harris.
The sophomore has had only one rough game this season _ the one Miami lost at Virginia Tech. In the Hurricanes' five wins, he's completed 96 of 137 passes (70.1 percent) for 1,368 yards and 11 touchdowns. In the one loss, he was 9 of 25 for 150 yards with no touchdowns.
"We've got to get to him," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "We've got to hit him. ... We can't let him get comfortable. If we do, it will be a long day on South Beach. It's critical that we can affect him. We have to win matchups."
But it solely hasn't been The Jacory Show for Miami so far in 2009.
The Hurricanes have had 16 different players already catch passes this season, so Harris has no shortage of targets. Javarris James, Graig Cooper and Berry all have rushed for at least 93 yards in a game. Telemaque and Campbell have blossomed in an injury-riddled secondary of late, Graham has a team-best three TD catches, Joseph has already topped most of his numbers for an entire season ... and the list goes on and on.
"Hey, I'm just a part of this team, and that's all I want to be," Harris said. "I wasn't aggravated by all the attention, but I was a little bit annoyed, because I haven't done anything yet. Everything coming into the year was based off of hype and I don't want that to be the downfall for me, so I understood, but I wanted to show what I could do first."
Harris' teammates say there's no question: He's the leader, period.
But at the same time, the difference for Miami this year, those same players say, is that someone new is stepping up each week.
"This is the University of Miami. We're always going to have players," left guard Orlando Franklin said. "It may take players a little bit longer to develop, but if you're here, you definitely belong here. And you definitely need to take care of business and do what you're supposed to do on the field. Now those guys are coming into that room and taking care what they need to take care of."
For his part, Harris said the attention hasn't been much of a positive or a negative. It's always going to be there, he said, win or lose.
"I just clear my mind and focus on what I need to do, what's the job at hand," Harris said. "That's just the type of guy I am."