Najee Harris ‘peaking and getting better at the right time’ for Alabama
No other SEC running back over the last two decades has scored like Najee Harris has these past few weeks.
During Alabama’s win over Western Carolina on Saturday, Harris — once again — scored as both a runner and as a pass-catcher.
In doing so, the junior — who has continued to rack up touchdowns this past month — became the first SEC player in at least 20 years to register both a rushing and receiving touchdown in three straight games.
As an NFL scout put it during a conversation with AL.com last week, Harris is “peaking and getting better at the right time.”
It’s good news for Alabama, which will likely lean heavily on the former five-star recruit when it faces Auburn this weekend.
“He’s always been a great player ever since he came in as a freshman,” safety Jared Mayden said. “The way he runs, I call him like a bucking bronco. There’s no way some of the times he’s still up. There’s no way some of the times he falls forward. Somebody should have made the tackle. But over the last couple months, you’ve just seen him — I would say — getting more opportunities, more times to touch the ball because he’s not doing nothing we haven’t seen at practice. Matter of fact, he does outstanding things at practice. So now that he’s getting the ball, I think he’s just making the most of his opportunities.”
After some frustration earlier in the season about his lack of rushing touchdowns at the time, Harris has been running for touchdowns on a frequent basis these past five games while also continuing to accumulate touchdowns as a pass-catcher.
Through six games, Harris had just one rushing touchdown. He has nine times that many in the five games since then.
The California native has run for nine touchdowns during these past five games, has three additional receiving touchdowns during this stretch and hasn’t had a game without multiple total touchdowns since Oct. 12.
Harris is tied for third nationally among Power Five conference players with 17 total touchdowns, ranking behind only Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor and Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard. In addition, Harris is just 58 yards away from 1,000 for the season and has posted an average of 140 scrimmage yards in the Tide’s last five games against SEC teams.
Harris has become a true multi-dimensional weapon for Alabama, continuing to accumulate both yards and touchdowns as both a runner and as a receiver.
“Najee’s a great running back,” center Landon Dickerson said. “He’s gonna hit the hole hard. He can run fast. He really just makes us look good.”
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