Alabama Football: Najee Harris will have a monster 2020 season for Tide

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Alabama football has been a powerhouse for running backs in recent memory. Expect Najee Harris to have a crazy season for the Crimson Tide.

We are used to seeing Alabama football have a dominant running game, but that has fallen by the wayside in recent years. Thanks to Tua Tagovailoa and the prolific passing attack, the Crimson Tide have relied less and less on the running game. However, that is going to change in 2020. This year, expect Alabama football to focus on giving the football to Najee Harris.

Najee Harris nearly doubled his total carries last season and gained 1224 rushing yards. He also scored 20 touchdowns with a balance of rushing and receiving. These numbers were a great complement, but they will explode once he is the focus of this offense.

With Alabama football relying on a new starting quarterback, they have two options. They can go with Bryce Young, a true freshman with plenty of upside, or Mac Jones, an experienced quarterback with his fair share of flaws. Either way, Najee Harris needs to get a fair portion of touches.

Mac Jones will almost certainly be the starting quarterback for the first few games. With him under center, you are mostly hoping that he doesn’t hurt you. His two pick-sixes in the 2019 Iron Bowl ended up being the difference. With Harris returning, Najee will let the Tide chew the clock, wear out the defense, and score on more screens than deep shots.

This pairing reminds me of the 2015 championship team for the Crimson Tide. In that season, Derrick Henry set records for rushes, yards, and rushing touchdowns, while Jake Coker took a few shots a game. The other thing that made this system work was the potent defense. Marlon Humphrey, Reuben Foster, and Eddie Jackson led what might be Saban’s best defense ever.

So, can Najee Harris be that bell cow for Alabama football in 2020? I believe so. The defense isn’t as strong, but many of their issues from last season revolved around health and inexperience. If Dylan Moses can stay on the field, he will make everyone on the Tide defense better. This offensive system will also give the defense more time off of the field, which will make them better.

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It’s going to be tough, but I fully believe that Najee Harris can have a major portion of touches in this offense next season. Trey Sanders can change the pace at times, but the Tide need to run the ball early and often if they want to make it back to the College Football Playoff.