Najee's niche: Reports out of Alabama practice suggest potential role for 5-star freshman
Even before 5-star RB Najee Harris arrived at Alabama, the Crimson Tide was set to have a loaded backfield in 2017. The team’s top three running backs – Bo Scarbrough, Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs – are all back and competing for carries. With Najee Harris joining the backfield, the competition has only gotten tighter.
Reports out of Alabama’s open practice indicate that Harris’ pass-catching abilities could be what helps the Antioch, Calif. product get his share of snaps with the first-team offense.
Najee Harris has gotten a LOT of run with the 1s. Been using him as a pass catcher coming out of the backfield a fair bit.
— Ben Jones (@BW_Jones) August 5, 2017
Brace yourself, Twitter folks. Najee Harris has looked good catching the ball out of the backfield.
— Charlie Potter (@Charlie_Potter) August 5, 2017
TideSports.com’s Aaron Suttles predicts that Harris, who is listed at 6-foot-2, 227 pounds on Alabama’s website, will be a big problem for opposing pass defenses based on what he saw in Saturday’s open practice:
Najee Harris is an absolute nightmare in the passing game for linebackers to deal with. He put Tony Brown in the spin cycle on one play.
Running backs played a relatively minor role in the Alabama passing game last season under Lane Kiffin. Jacobs led the running backs with 14 catches for 156 yards, No. 5 in receiving on the team. Damien Harris had two receiving touchdowns among his eight catches on the season. With Najee Harris on the team, expect Daboll to call for more passes to the running backs.