1on1: 5-star Alabama commitment Najee Harris

BamaMag.com hit the road over the weekend and caught up with five-star Alabama commitment Najee Harris in California.

Despite having visited more than a dozen schools early in the recruiting process, five-star Antioch (Calif.) junior running back Najee Harris chose Alabama over the summer.

He’ll continue to take visits elsewhere, particularly to Ohio State and Georgia this fall, though he’ll be back in Tuscaloosa for the LSU showdown November 7. The type of atmosphere expected is part of the reason the No. 3 junior in America chose Nick Saban’s program.

“College is going to be more of a competition, especially at ‘Bama,” he told BamaMag’s A.P. Steadham. “That’s what I like, competition, so I push myself every day. I felt home there, really. They played the highlight on the jumbotron and I got that feeling in my body. Plus the competition, and they’re in the SEC, the SEC is the best.

“Saban was all about business, straight to business. That’s what I like, too. Don’t work around it, get to it. He says I fit with the tradition of backs. I can’t wait to get there again.”

Watch the full Najee Harris interview:

Steadham likens Harris to a T.J. Yeldon type, others have thrown out Derrick Henry comparisons with his height and speed. But his coach at Antioch points to a legendary NFL back.

“He’s a great talent, a great kid and great student and this team looks to him as a leader despite being a junior,” John Lucido said. “He’s more like a Barry Sanders, a big Barry Sanders. He’s big, powerful, shifty and quick. On that first snap, he’s gone.”

UA assistant Tosh Lupoi has been in consistent contact with Lucido about Harris, who he says fits well into what Alabama is looking for both on and off the field.

“He’s their type of running back, big, strong, physical, I think he fits in well,” he said. “And he’s a great kid. Alabama really looks at character and once they met him I think it’s a no-brainer. They know he’s a good kid, he works hard and excels in the classroom.”

Lucido praised the way Harris has handled the recruiting process despite providing his verbal commitment as a high school sophomore.

“We tell him to take his time and enjoy it, but he knows what he wants,” he said. “He’s a real smart kid, it’s like he’s older than his age. He’s a very mature young man. I think he likes the atmosphere out that way.”

To kick off his junior season, Harris tabbed 187 yards on just 15 carries as Antioch routed Acalanes (Calif.) High 62-7. The five-star scored a pair of touchdowns and added four two-point conversions in the win. It was the Panthers’ first-ever game on their new home field.

“I want to thank my line first, but my performance wasn’t really what I wanted,” Harris said. “I would say my effort today was a C overall, not where I wanted to be.”

Harris in action Friday night:

Interviews/video conducted by A.P. Steadham

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