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Will Alabama keep Najee Harris committed?
I spent the past four days in Antioch, Calif., the home of the nation’s top recruit and Alabama commit Najee Harris. I didn’t get a chance to talk with Harris himself because he doesn’t enjoy interviews, but I did speak to every single person important and close to his recruitment.
The feeling I got from those closest to Harris is that he ultimately will stick with the Crimson Tide when he makes his final decision, and it’s unclear when that will happen. Harris is back in Antioch on Monday after taking a weekend official visit to UCLA, which is one of the schools vying to flip his commitment. The Bruins aren’t necessarily a big threat, so there’s not much for Tide fans to worry about when it comes to the trip.
Michigan is Alabama’s top competition for the 5-star running back. Jim Harbaugh has done a fantastic job courting Harris, his family and his mentors. But Alabama has a significant advantage because the Tide have been in the picture since Harris’ sophomore year. That matters because everyone close to Harris has a better relationship with the Tide coaches than the Wolverines coaches. Harris’ trainer considers Alabama outside linebackers coach Tosh Lupoi “family.” Lupoi is from California and grew up not too far from Antioch.
Another advantage Alabama has over Michigan is Harris’ desire to compete with the best. I heard it countless times over the past few days that Alabama’s imposing defense entices Harris, and those in his camp feel like coming to Tuscaloosa would offer better preparation for the NFL.
His trainer actually told SEC Country that he hopes his prodigy sticks with Alabama. He is arguably the most important person in Harris’ life outside of his mother. Several other people close to him said they hope he attends Alabama, too.
Ultimately, it’s going to be Harris’ decision. But after spending the past few days in California, I am much more confident in saying Harris will be a part of the Crimson Tide come 2017.
Harris’ mother comments on Alabama
Because Harris has been committed to Alabama since his sophomore year, that’s allowed his mother — Tianna Hicks — to get close to the Tide coaching staff.
The U.S. Army All-American committed to Alabama the first time he visited Tuscaloosa, and he hasn’t looked back on that decision.
Hicks was also on the trip with her son when he committed, and that’s when she, too, fell in love with Alabama.
“First off, their record is impeccable and outstanding,” Hicks told SEC Country. “They have top-notch facilities. Nick Saban is a hard-working guy and serious about his business. I love how he runs the team, and I just love the whole program. I like the educational side of the program and I like how they take care of the players as far as tutoring, health care, housing, food — all of the things that moms worry about.
“I feel really comfortable that Saban and the team are going to take care of my son.”
One of the reasons why she is at peace with her son going to Alabama is because of Lupoi. As mentioned above, the assistant has been a constant in Harris’ life since he was a freshman in high school. He was one of the first college coaches in the country to believe that Harris was destined for great things before he became the best recruit.
“That’s family. He’s my boy. That’s my boy,” Hicks said of Lupoi. “We’re very close with him. He has a great personality. He really is looking out for Najee, as far as keeping in touch and making sure he is doing the things needed to get where he wants to be, so I appreciate him.”
Again, that’s just another reason why Alabama is going to be hard to beat when it comes to Harris’ recruitment.
Two new offers out for Alabama
Alabama hosted several recruits over the weekend for its game against Mississippi State, and two new offers went out.
2018 4-star cornerback Jairus Brents from Kentucky:
— Jairus Brents (@JiggaTheShow9) November 12, 2016
2018 4-star safety Myles Sims from Georgia:
Blessed and Honored to receive an offer from The University of Alabama! #1018 pic.twitter.com/oxvi82LKFy
— Spider™ (@simsmyles) November 12, 2016
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
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