Najee Harris was Rivals' No. 1 player in the class of 2017. He was the No. 2 composite player over at 247Sports. Even with that hype heading into his college career, it is not easy to break into the Alabama backfield.
The California native admits that he had a pretty tough time adjusting to the college life, and a move to the South, overall. Despite entering the year with big expectations, Harris wasn't a huge factor for the Crimson Tide during the year.
He only went for 50 or more yards four times on the season, with three of those games coming against some of the lesser opponents on the schedule: Fresno State, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee.
The fourth game is a bit of a surprise for those who don't remember his impact. It was the national championship against Georgia.
Harris broke off some big runs, and wound up piling up 64 yards in the win over the Bulldogs.
That performance might be a major reason why Harris is still a member of the Crimson Tide.
Najee Harris revealed that he considered transferring in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle:
From Ron Kroichick's piece on the Bay Area product:
"Harris, the country’s No. 1 recruit in the class of 2017 at Antioch High School, peers toward the start of training camp early next month with a curious mix of bravado and skepticism. His six-carry, 64-yard performance in the title game might have showed the world his readiness, but he already brimmed with quiet confidence.
That’s why he contemplated leaving Alabama after his freshman season, frustrated by sparse playing time. And that’s also why he ultimately stayed, figuring Alabama still offers the best path to the NFL.
“The only thing I can tell you is, I hope I’m on the field more,” Harris said. “Last year was the worst feeling. That whole season was mentally challenging.”
Trainer Marcus Malu also played a key role in his decision to stay. He reiterated that Alabama was Harris' best career path to the NFL.
“I told him there’s not another school that is going to prep him as well, and give him the competition every day to get him ready for (playing on) Sundays,” Malu said of their conversations in January. “He was just down. I said, ‘You have to go back. I know you’re down right now, it happens. But you have to go back.’
“He needed the mental battles, so he can stay focused and hungry. I told him, ‘You’ve always been the hardest worker, and now you’re in a room full of hard workers. Nobody remembers what you did all year, they remember the yardage you gained in the title game.’”
With Bo Scarbrough in the NFL, Harris will split carries with Damien Harris this season. Based on what he showed in that title game, Alabama fans have to relieved that he ultimately decided to stick it out in Tuscaloosa.