Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting, with Chris Kirschner. Today we discuss the latest with Najee Harris and a surprise visitor coming to town this weekend.
Najee Harris talks his commitment decision
ATLANTA — Najee Harris, Alabama’s prized 5-star running back commit, has been on Alabama’s campus for over two weeks now and hasn’t explained why he ultimately stuck with his commitment to the Crimson Tide until now.
The nation’s No. 2 running back from Antioch (Calif.) High School caused a spectacle at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, two weeks ago because of his indecision on whether to either fly to Alabama or Michigan. For the most part, Harris avoided interviews with reporters that week because he just didn’t know what to say at the time.
“I think I would have created a circus either way because I was still choosing between both schools at the time,” Harris told SEC Country at the Touchdown Club of Atlanta. “That’s why I didn’t want to talk. I really didn’t know what I was doing until that last day I was there.”
Harris was awarded the Bobby Dodd National High School Back of the Year trophy on Monday night and was willing to speak about his recruitment because, “it’s over now, so it doesn’t matter what I say.”
Some people believed the Army All-American was “trolling” Michigan near the end of his recruitment, but that wasn’t the case. He decided that Alabama was the school for him the Saturday night before he flew to Birmingham the following morning.
“It was really close,” Harris said. “But every time I go to practice and every time I go in the weight room, I want to compete against the top athletes — or so a lot of people say — the best. I want to compete against all of those guys. I’m always looking to get better. Alabama has a lot of resources to just get better. I just want to get better, and they have a lot of stuff to make that happen.”
One of those ways he’s hoping to get better is in the weight room, which is pretty much a sanctuary for the running back. Harris has 6 a.m. workouts every day, and he loves every one of them. He said he spends more than half of his day in the football facility learning the playbook, working out, rehabbing his knee, which he had surgery on to repair a torn meniscus, and watching film on his own time.
He’s also already established a great relationship with his roommate, 5-star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who joins Harris for his workouts and film studies.
“That’s my dog. Tua is my dude,” Harris said. “He is hella funny. I can see myself being friends with him for life. They say you meet your best friends in college. When we first met, we just clicked. We’re just really cool like that.”
Harris and Tagovailoa became very close when they were in Oregon this past summer for The Opening. The two played on the same 7-on-7 team at the event and hung out with each other when the competition ended for the day. That’s when they really developed a bond.
“I went to his room to go over some plays — and he always brings his Bible everywhere he goes — so, we went from looking up plays to reading the Bible together,” Harris said. “He’s a very religious dude.”
There are going to be high expectations for Harris while he’s in Tuscaloosa, and he knows that. He knows all about Trent Richardson, Mark Ingram, Derrick Henry and the others who came before him.
He doesn’t have any tangible goals for his freshman season. He just wants to improve in all facets of his life.
“I really don’t know what I want to accomplish yet,” Harris said. “I just want to get better day by day with all of my attributes. That’s what I want to do.”
Surprise visitor is no more
Most schools around the country are gearing up for a crazy list of visitors as college football programs look to make a final impression on recruits just a few days before National Signing Day, which is this coming Wednesday.
Alabama will have zero official visitors.
Ameer Speed, a 3-star cornerback from Sandalwood High School (Jacksonville, Fla.), was expected to come to Tuscaloosa this weekend for an official visit, but he ended up canceling it and will stick with his original plan, which was to visit Oregon, according to Scout’s Corey Bender.
With this move, it’s unlikely the Crimson Tide are going to add another defensive back to the class, even though 4-star targets Todd Harris, a safety from Louisiana, and Chris Henderson, a cornerback from Miami, remain uncommitted. Henderson is trending toward Miami, while there may not be room for Harris because of his position. Alabama is recruiting him at star, the same position Tony Brown and Shyheim Carter play. Signee Kyriq McDonald is also likely to play there.
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