Najee Harris (Brandon Huffman)

Finding Time the Key for Nation's No. 1 Recruit, RB Najee Harris

Nov. 8 -- The No. 1 recruit in the 2017 class, Antioch (Calif.) five-star running back Najee Harris, is trying to find enough time in the coming weeks to advance in the playoffs, take official visits and graduate early...

Antioch (Calif.) five-star running back Najee Harris has a plan.

The primary plan is to keep playing for as long as possible with his Panther teammates.  They'll start the CIF-NCS playoffs this week.

Then the plan is to finalize all the schoolwork necessary to ensure he'll graduate in December and be on a college campus in January.

If there is room for one more plan, or five, it's to fit the official visits he's hoping to take in between the conclusion of his season and the end of December.

But right now, the primary plan is also the priority.

"I haven't taken any official visits yet," said Harris.  "I'm not worrying about any of that stuff right now.  I'm worried about my team and winning a championship."

Now, having said that, Harris has every intention of taking as many trips as he possibly can.

"Oh yeah, I'm definitely taking as many visits as I can," said Harris.  "Hopefully all of them.  If I have to take them midweek, I'll take them."

A commit to Alabama since April of 2015, Harris has stayed committed to the Tide.

But being the top-ranked prospect in his class comes with the added bonus of being the target of so many other schools.

Besides the Tide, Harris has been a focus of Michigan, USC and UCLA as well as Ohio State.

Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and linebackers coach and area recruiter Tosh Lupoi came by the last weekend in October to see Harris.  USC running backs coach Tommie Robinson was there the same day.

Last weekend, it was UCLA defensive line coach and area recruiter Angus McClure who was at Antioch.

And then of course, Jim Harbaugh was at Antioch earlier in October, where he also announced the Homecoming Queen.

Harris saw Harbaugh, Lupoi, Kiffin, Robinson and McClure at each game.  And gave them a wave.

"I can't talk to them when they're there so it doesn't really affect me that coaches are coming to the games," said Harris.  "Coach Harbaugh, Coach Tosh, Coach Kiffin, Coach Robinson, Coach Angus, I just waved and said whats up from the other side of the field."

That has allowed Harris to worry about his production on the field instead of the pressure of his never-relenting recruitment.

But Harris said at no point has he found or felt any pressure.

"There is no pressure," said Harris.  "I'm not tired of any of it.  There have been just a few interviews here and there, but it's not a big deal.  I'll worry about all that stuff with recruiting later.  Right now, I'm worried about my team."

Harris said that he still remains committed to Alabama- that hasn't changed since he gave them a verbal over 18 months ago.

"I need to go on my visit down there to Alabama," said Harris.  "I was supposed to go a couple weeks ago (for the Texas A&M game), but our game ended late and I couldn't get to my flight.  So I think I'll go for the Auburn game (Nov. 26th)."

Yet despite the commitment, all it has done is ramp up the efforts of Michigan, Ohio State, USC and UCLA plus others he hasn't given much of any attention to.

Especially Michigan, who held a camp at Antioch in the summer and had Harbaugh visit during his Bay Area swing.

"When Coach Harbaugh was here, I couldn't talk to him, but he was on the sidelines. He's everywhere.  Coach Harbaugh is dope.  He's cool.  It sucks we can't talk to those guys when they're here," said Harris.

Harris said he plans to visit Michigan at some point, but doesn't know if it will be his mom or his trainer, or both, when he makes that trip.

USC and UCLA both had assistants come by to see him and he's visited each school numerous times for unofficials. Ohio State had him on campus in the spring for an unofficial as well.

"But I'm gonna try and take officials to them if I have time before I graduate," said Harris.

The early graduation has accelerated Harris' time frame too- there will likely be no wait until Signing Day to finalize any decision.  

It will have to come before then.

"I passed my SAT's so I can graduate early and I have seven weeks left of high school," said Harris.  "I'll go from San Antonio from the Army Bowl, the game is January 7th, and they said I could go after the game, hop on a plane and be somewhere."

So that's where the time crunch becomes key for Harris.

But again, he doesn't want his focus to be on his recruitment, but on his Antioch team and helping them win an NCS title that eluded them by a matter of feet a year ago.

"I don't want to even think about it right now," said Harris. "I know I have to hurry up fast since I'm graduating early. But my focus is my team."

Najee Harris (Brandon Huffman)

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