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Damien Harris Deserves Better Press and More Recognition

Each year for the last two years, Damien Harris has been the workhorse for the Crimson Tide. Can they finally show some love for all that hard work?

Damien Harris carrying the Tide like he always has. (Photo-TouchdownAlabama.net)

Damien Harris Deserves Better Press and More Recognition

By: Larry Burton

Damien Harris is an Alabama man through and through. He stayed for his senior year to help the team go back to back despite the fact that many NFL teams were salivating over the prospects of him leaving early for the NFL draft as did other juniors with a skill set close to his. He has led the team in rushing yardage each of the last two years he’s been a starter.

As for his freshman year, he was not a real star that some freshmen were. He played a backup role to that season’s Heisman Trophy winner, Derrick Henry, but showed glimpses of the greatness that was to follow.

In his sophomore year, he made the starting job, but it was Bo Scarbrough that got all the preseason hype, who had all the fans high expectations and was the that the media talked about being the big running threat. However, when 2016’s season was over, it was Damien Harris who led the team in total rushing, Damien Harris who led the team in yards per carry average and Damien Harris who kept himself in shape, was unselfish in sharing the runs and who was always the man the team could count on.

Here are those rushing stats from CFBStats for the 2016 season:

Name Yr Pos G Att Yards Avg. TD Att/G Yards/G
1 Damien Harris SO RB 15 146 1037 7.10 2 9.73 69.13
2 Jalen Hurts FR QB 15 191 954 4.99 13 12.73 63.60
3 Bo Scarbrough SO RB 13 125 812 6.50 11 9.62 62.46
4 Josh Jacobs FR RB 15 85 567 6.67 4 5.67 37.80
5 B.J. Emmons FR RB 7 35 173 4.94 1 5.00 24.71
6 Derrick Gore SO RB 11 18 93 5.17 1 1.64 8.45
7 ArDarius Stewart JR WR 12 8 68 8.50 0 0.67 5.67
8 Calvin Ridley SO WR 15 5 21 4.20 1 0.33 1.40
9 Ronnie Clark SO RB 1 4 14 3.50 0 4.00 14.00
10 Avery Reid SO RB 1 2 4 2.00 0 2.00 4.00
11 Robert Foster JR WR 10 1 -5 -5.00 0 0.10 -0.50
12 Cooper Bateman JR QB 15 3 -11 -3.67 0 0.20 -0.73
13 Blake Barnett FR QB 3 7 -17 -2.43 0 2.33 -5.67
14 Team 9 9 -35 -3.89 0 1.00 -3.89
Total 15 639 3675 5.75 33 42.60 245.00
Opponents 15 476 959 2.01 5 31.73 63.93

Last season, once again, it was supposed to be Bo Scarbrough’s year. All the hype was on Scarbrough, despite the fact that Harris was better in every measurable way just the year before. Yet when the dust settled on the 2017 season, it was once again Damien Harris who led the team in total rushing, once again it was Damien Harris that led the team in yards per carry average and once again it was Damien Harris who kept himself in shape, unselfishly shared the running back chores and was one of the main reasons that Alabama won another national title.

When the season was over, once again it Bo Scarbrough who got all the attention, leaving early for the NFL draft and garnering all the praise.

Now comes the 2018 season and who has all the preseason hype and early Heisman candacy talk, Tua Tagovailoa, a person that’s never started a college football game.

This should be the year that Alabama celebrates Damien Harris, builds him up for a Heisman run and lavishes all the preseason hype on him that they can. Not just because he’s genuinely worthy of it, but because he’s earned it. And if these aren’t reasons enough, then why not just because he’s such an unselfish and really nice guy that has paid his dues?

In reality though, it may be hard for Harris to make a legitimate Heisman run. The reason is that he’s going to share a lot of the load with not one, but three talented running backs, any one of which might be a starter on most other teams in the nation. Those men are Josh Jacobs, Najee Harris and Brian Robinson. There are even more good men behind them all waiting their turn to try and make a name for themselves.

Take a look at the yards per carry averages from 2017 and you’ll see what I mean.

Name Yr Pos G Att Yards Avg. TD Att/G Yards/G
1 Damien Harris JR RB 14 135 1000 7.41 11 9.64 71.43
2 Jalen Hurts SO QB 14 154 855 5.55 8 11.00 61.07
3 Bo Scarbrough JR RB 14 124 596 4.81 8 8.86 42.57
4 Najee Harris FR RB 14 61 370 6.07 3 4.36 26.43
5 Josh Jacobs SO RB 12 46 284 6.17 1 3.83 23.67
6 Brian Robinson Jr. FR RB 11 24 165 6.88 2 2.18 15.00
7 Tua Tagovailoa FR QB 9 27 133 4.93 2 3.00 14.78
8 Ronnie Clark JR RB 5 21 107 5.10 1 4.20 21.40
9 Calvin Ridley JR WR 14 2 17 8.50 0 0.14 1.21
10 Robert Foster SR WR 14 1 12 12.00 0 0.07 0.86
11 Austin Johnson SR WR 1 2 8 4.00 0 2.00 8.00
12 Team 10 15 -38 -2.53 0 1.50 -3.80
Total 14 612 3509 5.73 36 43.71 250.64
Opponents 14 487 1326 2.72 9 34.79 94.71

Harris is all a student athlete should be to a school and should be the face of the Alabama football program this season. He should be basking in the glow of all the attention the school, media and fans can give him. He should get all the hype they can put on him. Why? Because Damien Harris has earned it with his work, attitude and loyalty and he deserves it.

Larry has been published in almost every media outlet for college sports and now primarily writes here for Touchdown Alabama. Follow Larry on Twitter for inside thoughts and game time comments at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter

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