In following the tradition of sharing carries, Najee Harris got better in his sophomore season at the University of Alabama. The running back from California finished second on the team in rushing yards (783) and had four touchdowns on 117 carries.
Despite having 36 less attempts than Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs, the younger Harris averaged nearly seven yards (6.69) per rush.
A five-star in the 2017 class, Harris was “Mr. Football” in California and was the top-ranked athlete overall in the cycle. The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder is on the Maxwell and Doak Walker Award preseason watch list, while the media named him a first-teamer for the All-SEC Team.
He will start the season sharing responsibilities with Brian Robinson Jr. and Trey Sanders; however, one former Tide standout is ready to see “big things” from Harris.
On last week, Bobby Humphrey was featured on In My Own Words with yours truly of Touchdown Alabama Magazine. For someone who is still third all-time in career rushing yards (3,420) and seventh in rushing touchdowns (33), Humphrey is very excited to see Harris.
“I really think he is going to have that breakout season that we have all been waiting and anticipating,” Humphrey said of Harris. “I’m not saying he has not had any great years; I’m saying he’s going to take it to another level. The thing about it is with Tua [Tagovailoa] being the quarterback and what he has achieved and us having, in my opinion, three wide receivers that will play one day in the National Football League and with some of the guys we have recruited, I think it is going to take a lot of pressure off the running game.”
Alabama head coach Nick Saban has stated all summer about the team returning to the “Bama factor” and part of that is having offensive balance. Although he is not against the quick strike drives, Saban is also one for wearing an opposing defense down and controlling the game.
“I think they are going to complement each other,” Humphrey said on the Crimson Tide’s passing and rushing attack. “I think this thing is going to open up. If Najee starts running the ball well, they are not going to be able to stack the box. There is going to have to be a time for double teams in the secondary on one or two of those receivers, which means you are not going to be able to put eight people in the box. That is going to really open up things in the running game.”
Humphrey is excited about seeing Patrick Surtain II at cornerback as well, but with him being a running back himself, Harris stands out more.
Humphrey played under coaches Ray Perkins and Bill Curry from 1985-88 and was a two-time 1,000-yard rusher in 1986 and 1987.
He finished 10th in the Heisman voting in 1987.
Humphrey has no doubt that Saban will have the team in line, but he wants Harris to excel and produce an incredible campaign in the fall.
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