BEAVERTON, Ore. — Najee Harris, the prized running back commit for Alabama, has continued to visit other schools, but that could be coming to an end.
Well, at least for the near future.
Harris told SEC Country at The Opening, a premier football camp for the nation’s top high school players held at Nike’s world headquarters, that there’s a good possibility that he won’t take any more visits for the rest of the summer.
“I’ve been away from my team for so long so I don’t think I’m going to be doing too much stuff,” Harris said. “I want to spend time with my team because it’s a new team. I’ve been gone a lot, so I want to get to know them before we play.”
That’s the news Alabama loves to hear. Harris has visited Ohio State, Southern California, UCLA and Washington since committing more than a year ago, and he has said that the visits to other schools won’t stop.
The nation’s No. 1 overall player wants to be clear about his desire to visit other schools not named Alabama.
“Can I enjoy my recruiting process?” Harris rhetorically asked. “That’s the only thing I can say. I am just trying to enjoy this because you’re going to wake up the next day and be back to the grind.”
Harris has gotten to spend quality time with several Alabama commits this week at The Opening. In Alabama’s Class of 2017, Harris said he’s closest with both quarterback commitments Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones, 5-star offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood and 4-star linebacker VanDarius Cowan. Jones is the only one out of that group that isn’t in Oregon this week.
“All of them are my guys. Every single one of them,” Harris said. “We’re all really cool with each other. We all love to compete and we watch out for each other. We’re not big-headed or anything like that.”
Big-headed is not the adjective anyone would use to describe Harris. Though he’s the nation’s top recruit, Harris hates the attention that title brings. He jokingly slammed down his jacket when he was approached for an interview. He then put the jacket on, zipped it up to his chin and put his hood on so no one would spot him.
After his high school games, Harris does not talk to television cameras without his offensive line behind him. The attention he receives helps his teammates get recognized, and he said that’s his favorite part of the recruiting process.
“I like helping other people,” Harris said with a smile. “Every time I make a play, score a touchdown or gain some yards, it’s not just about me. It’s about my team. I would be very conceited if I just took all of the credit. I have to have my offensive linemen with me.”
That love he has for his teammates explains why Harris is thinking about ending his recruiting tour for the future. The time he’s on a college campus is less time he can spend with his teammates, and that means something to Harris.
Harris has not thought about official visits just yet. He said it’s even a possibility that he takes zero official visits this fall.
“I want to spend time with my team right now,” Harris said. “I’ve been taking too much time away from them. I’m not thinking about that.”
Harris’ desire to be the best teammate possible may ultimately help Alabama’s chances of keeping the best player in the country committed.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
Chris Kirschner covers Alabama football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Bryant-Denny.