By: USA TODAY High School Sports | January 5, 2017
The recruiting saga of No. 1 overall prospect Najee Harris appears to be coming to a close with the star running back likely to remain committed to Alabama and not flipping to Michigan.
A person familiar with Harris’ plan said his mother asked U.S. Army All-American Bowl officials to switch Harris’ flight Sunday from San Antonio to Birmingham and the Army Bowl has complied. Harris, from Antioch, Calif., was initially scheduled to fly home to Oakland.
The person was not authorized to speak because Harris family’s request has not been made public.
Harris declined interview requests Thursday at practice for Saturday’s Army Bowl. He told news reporters earlier in the week that he did not plan a public announcement and was going to show up at the college of his choice – either Michigan or Alabama – and enroll. Classes begin Jan. 11 at Alabama and began yesterday at Michigan.
The flight change was first reported by 247Sports.
Harris, a first-team American Family Insurance ALL-USA selection, has taken a different approach than most recruits who routinely tweet their every move. So until Harris boards the flight on Sunday, anything is possible.
Alabama quarterback commit Tua Tagovailoa, who plans to room with Harris at Alabama, has been put in the awkward position of answering questions for Harris at the Army Bowl.
“Me and Najee talked last night and he doesn’t want anybody to know anything,” Tagovailoa told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday. “People are trying to blow him up so he just asked me not to mention him. I just have to respect that.”
Harris has been committed to Alabama since April 2015, but signals in recent weeks had suggested he was strongly considering Michigan. He began following a bunch of Michigan players and then was seen on video wearing a Jordan Brand Michigan shirt on Christmas Day.
Harris finished his high school career with 7,947 career yards, fourth in California history, according to Cal-Hi Sports. His total was 2,775 as a senior, after 165 yards as a freshman, 2,263 as a sophomore and 2,744 as a junior. He had 99 touchdowns for his career (94 rushing and five receiving).
Click the gallery below to see who is playing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl: