Alabama Football News

It’s time to start the Heisman campaign for Mac Jones and Najee Harris

Mac Jones fakes hand-off to Najee Harris versus Missouri
Denny Medley - USA TODAY Sports

We are at the halfway point of the college football season for the Southeastern Conference, and it is time to start considering a Heisman campaign for Mac Jones and Najee Harris.

Both players at the University of Alabama have been exceptional.

Offensively, the Crimson Tide has been highly explosive and it is due to the success of Jones and Harris. The duo has the Tide averaging 48.8 points per game, which is first in the SEC and third in the nation. Also, Alabama ranks first in the conference and third nationally for total offense with 566.4 yards per game.

Nick Saban’s team is 5-0 heading into its meeting against Mississippi State on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium, and it is pushing for an opportunity to win a national championship.

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In replacing Tua Tagovailoa as the starting quarterback, Jones has exceeded expectations.

The junior is first in the SEC and top-five in college football for completion percentage (78.8%), passer rating (212.8), total quarterback rating (96.6) and raw quarterback rating (94.8).

He has totaled 1,905 passing yards (leads SEC) with 12 touchdowns to two interceptions.

Jones has three 400-yard games, making him the lone signal caller in Tide history to do it.

He has been awarded SEC Offensive Player of the Week three times for his performances versus Texas A&M, Georgia and Tennessee.

His accuracy, ball placement and leadership has led to nearly three wide receivers — DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle and John Metchie — averaging 100 yards a game. During his run to the Heisman Memorial Trophy in 2019, Joe Burrow of Louisiana State University had a full schedule that included lower-tier competition.

In five SEC games, he completed 134 of 171 passes (78.4%) for 1,732 yards with 17 touchdowns to one interception. Burrow also achieved a 199.92 passer rating and a total QBR of 93.4 through five contests.

At this point, Jones has a higher completion percentage, more passing yards, and a better total QBR.

As for Harris, he is running with purpose.

He leads the SEC in carries (103), rushing yards (595) and scores (14).

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The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder returned to school to improve his value for the NFL Draft and he has done it. Harris is averaging nearly six yards per rush (5.78) and 119 yards per game. He has two 100-yard outings, including one 200-yard output in a 63-48 victory for Alabama over Mississippi.

Once a five-star in the Crimson Tide’s 2017 class, Harris pounded the best run defense in college football for 152 yards with one touchdown in the Tide’s 41-24 win over Georgia. He has collected four 100-yard games from scrimmage, and the latest one came in a matchup with Tennessee.

Harris tallied 96 yards rushing, 61 yards receiving and three scores on 26 touches.

Despite a season-ending injury to Jaylen Waddle, the talented runner pushed Alabama to victory.

He currently is ninth all-time in Alabama football history for rushing yards (2,972) and tied for sixth in touchdowns (34).

Harris is 28 yards away from becoming the ninth running back in the 3,000-yard club for the Tide.

Jones and Harris have both been impactful to Alabama’s success. Although other people look at Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) and Justin Fields (Ohio State) in terms of quarterbacks, it is time to start campaigning Jones for Heisman. The same thing needs to be said of Harris. College football is filled with great backs, but Harris is leading the group right now. According to a graphic from College Football on Fox via Twitter, his statistics through the first five games are better than Mark Ingram’s (2009) and Derrick Henry’s (2015) from their Heisman-winning seasons.

If nothing else, both Jones and Harris should get invited to New York City for the presentation ceremony.

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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 @CoachingMSmith.

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