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Alabama RB Damien Harris to forgo NFL Draft, will return for his senior season

Christopher Hanewinckel - USA TODAY Sports

Depending on whether safety Ronnie Harrison appears at the podium inside the Mal Moore facility or not, some of the University of Alabama’s draft-eligible juniors will announce their professional careers plans at 1:00 p.m. CT today.

Wide receiver Calvin Ridley, running back Bo Scarbrough, defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick are all declaring. 

Fans of Crimson Tide football and the school’s coaching staff did receive great news on Wednesday, as junior Damien Harris decided to return for his senior season. While AL.com was the first outlet to report the situation, Harris wants to prove his value in the fall – especially after being considered second-fiddle behind Scarbrough during the 2016 season and this campaign. 

Harris, a native of Richmond, Ky., has improved each year since arriving at Tuscaloosa in 2015 as a five-star prospect. He’s posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, following his performance of 1,000 yards rushing with 11 touchdowns (career-high) on 135 carries through 14 contests. 

The 5-foot-11, 212-pounder became the 20th back in UA history to eclipse 2,000 career rushing yards (2,194), and has collected seven 100-yard outings in his tenure. Harris was credited with three 100-yard games in 2017, including a matchup against Vanderbilt where he accounted for a season-high 151 yards rushing with three scores on 12 attempts in helping the Tide win 59-0. 

Multiple players took to Twitter in excitement for Harris’ decision, and with him back alongside Josh Jacobs, Najee Harris and Brian Robinson, Alabama’s backfield is loaded for next fall. 

Seeing how Tua Tagovailoa played at quarterback on Monday, the combination of he, the running backs, a strong offensive line and talented receivers could provide even bigger numbers for Harris moving forward.  

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

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