By: Jim Halley, USA TODAY High School Sports | October 7, 2016
Najee Harris donned the honorary jersey Friday for the the U.S. Army All-American Bowl when the Selection Tour presented by American Family Insurance to Antioch (Calif.) High, but his choice was nearly to play in the Under Armour All-America Game.
“It was a tough choice,” Harris said. “Both of them were saying something. It was like, ‘We’re not trying to pressure you, but we don’t want to make it a hard choice.’ But they both kept calling and it made it a hard choice. In a small way, it was a little like college recruiting. … I just stuck with what I decided my sophomore year. This game is better and I know more people.”
The Army Bowl is Jan. 7 in San Antonio.
That same indecision is mirrored in his college choice. He committed to Alabama more than a year ago, but while he’s planning to graduate in December and he’s visited Tuscaloosa at least five times, he plans to take all his official visits. He had hoped to see his first game at Bryant-Denny Stadium last week, but schoolwork and the SATs interfered.
“I’m going to take my five visits, but I just don’t know where,” Harris said. “Let’s say this: My mind isn’t set on Alabama. I’m not 100 percent set on Alabama. I’m trying to see what else is out there for me. I’m using my visits to see. As much attention as I’ve gotten, I feel like I have helped my teammates get some offers, too.”
Going into his game at Freedom (Oakley, Calif.) on Friday night, he has 113 carries for 1,074 yards and 13 touchdowns this season and is averaging 9.5 yards a carry and 214.8 yards a game. He needs only 134 yards to be the Bay Area’s all-time leading career rushing. The current mark is 6,379, set by Jahvid Best at Salesian (Richmond) from 2004-06. Best is an Olympic sprinter who played running back at Cal.
“At this point, the (record) doesn’t matter,” Harris said. “Our stats guy is the one who tells me what those records are.”
Harris and IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) linebacker Dylan Moses had a great matchup at The Opening last summer. Moses just switched his commitment to Alabama this week and said he’s looking forward to going up against Harris in practice next year.
“I’m very pumped man, that’s my dawg,” Moses texted. “Can’t wait to make each other better, day in and day out to win some rings!”
Asked about Moses’ text, at first Harris said he had no comment. When prodded, he said, “I’m not afraid of competition, so if he wants to play against me, that’s fine. If he says, he wants to go up against me, that’s fun. Iron sharpens iron in a way.”
2017 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, alabama, Alabama football, American Family Insurance, Antioch High School (Antioch CA), Dylan Moses, football, football recruiting, Najee Harris, recruiting, All-American Bowl Selection Tour