Alabama Football: Crimson Tide RB Najee Harris is a unicorn

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Alabama football’s Najee Harris cannot be compared to any human.

The Alabama football roster is stocked with talent all over the field. On both sides of the ball, the Crimson Tide have studs who will play in the NFL for years to come. However, one player cannot be compared to any other athlete. Najee Harris is a unicorn.

Running backs come in all shapes and sizes. Even Alabama football has no typical archetype for the position. Josh Jacobs was undersized and relied on the pass-catching aspect of his game. Trent Richardson was small and stocky. Kenyan Drake relied on speed. Derrick Henry was an absolute mammoth and overpowered every opponent.

Najee Harris takes aspects from many other athletes. You cannot truly compare him to any specific back. In terms of size, his closest Alabama comp would be Derrick Henry. However, he’s an inch shorter and weighs at least 20 pounds less than Henry. He also has a different running style. Henry runs upright and uses his strength to get through defenders. Harris can use his strength, but he focuses more on agility. In this way, he compares closer to Mark Ingram.

One aspect of his game that no Alabama football player has ever had is his hurdling ability. Najee has hurdled plenty of defenders, and he almost always lands ready to gain more yards.

The most underrated skill Najee Harris possesses is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Pass-catching backs are increasing in value as the NFL becomes more spread out. I first believed that this was Najee’s biggest weakness due to his lack of catches as a sophomore. However, it is now obvious that he did not catch passes because that was Josh Jacobs’ role. Not only can Harris use a route tree, but he can also thrive while doing so. You might see his catches decrease in 2020 due to the rise of Trey Sanders, but the skill is right there.

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To recap, Najee Harris is the second-biggest running back of the Nick Saban era, but he has all of the skills that you see in smaller backs. He used his junior year to turn his weaknesses into strengths, and he will continue to improve in 2020. He’s a unicorn. There’s no other way to accurately describe him.