The highly-anticipated 2016 debut of Antioch (Calif.) five-star running back Najee Harris went about as well as many across the country could have expected. The longtime Scout.com No. 1 overall prospect in the 2017 class helped the Panthers take a commanding lead early over Stockton (Calif.) Lincoln with three first-half scores, including one on a reception.
The unanimous top running back in the country even played some defense on this day, intercepting a pass early on, the first he could recall at the high school level.
"It was fun out there," he said. "I think that was my first (interception). It's whatever makes the team better."
Still committed to Alabama though others visits continue to take place, including to UCLA, Harris didn't play defense much longer, as the Antioch offense exploded right out of the gate. The senior back of course pitched in, tallying a trio of touchdowns in the opening half of the year. Two came on the ground and one was on the tail end of a 35-yard pass,
By the time his night was done, and it came early, Harris had more than 250 total yards on about a dozen touches. He ran for 219 yards on 10 carries before the early departure before the 67-38 final.
But according the Harris, there could be room to improve his own game and for the Antioch team as a whole.
"Film shows a lot, so we'll see. We did good," he said.
The debut, after a busy summer on the camp trail including a standout showing at Nike's premier high school event, The Opening Finals, didn't come without somewhat of a price. Harris has actually been battling an ongoing leg injury as a result of the slate before Antioch began fall camp.
Still, smiles were all over the place Friday night.
"I feel good, man, but me personally, I felt good, I felt loose the whole time," Harris said. "I had to stretch, I've got a little injury right now, my (right) IT band is tight. You have to roll it out, stretch it out, ice it. I've been battling this injury all summer, it's lack of rest and too much working out."
Don't expect time to be missed as the Panthers chase a state championship.
"We just love competing," Harris said, flashing another smile.
Scout/BamaMag's A.P. Steadham has video of Harris' debut effort below:null