Alabama football might have two Heisman contenders on the roster.
With the success that Alabama football has seen over the course of this season, at least one Heisman contender was bound to be on the team. The frontrunner is clearly Mac Jones, but other candidates on the Crimson Tide will receive votes. Jaylen Waddle was a contender before his injury, and Najee Harris was near the top of the list earlier this season.
However, a lot of things have happened since those first few dominant games. Is Najee Harris still a Heisman Trophy contender?
Najee Harris hasn’t done much to knock himself out of the race. After only six games, Harris already has more rushing touchdowns than he did last year. However, any running back has an uphill battle to the Heisman Trophy, and he will likely lose the award because of the competition.
The last two running backs to win the Heisman Trophy were Alabama football stars, but they caught lightning in a bottle. In both years, running backs were the top two players in the Heisman rankings. There were no quarterbacks that took over the year, which gave them room to earn the award. Harris does not have that luxury in 2020. Trevor Lawrence, Mac Jones, Kyle Trask and Justin Fields have all played great football. He could dominate and still lose to any of these quarterbacks.
Harris has also seen a decrease in his role as a receiving back. This hurts his overall stats, and he does not get the touches that help him make this up. To win the Heisman as a running back, you have to be utterly dominant. While he dominates in the touchdown category, he lacks the yardage to be considered at this current moment.
It doesn’t help that he is playing alongside a great quarterback. Ingram had Greg McElroy at quarterback, and Derrick Henry had Jake Coker. With those quarterbacks, the running backs had to dominate for the offense to work. Alabama has changed its offensive scheme over the years, which simply makes it too hard for a running back to win the Heisman.
At some point, the narratives surrounding Alabama football will consolidate, and the Heisman votes will consolidate as well. At the end of the day, voters will simply choose to vote for Mac Jones over Najee Harris. Unless he wins the Heisman in the SEC Championship, expect him to lose the award.
However, he could still win a few other awards. He could easily win the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best running back. Either way, his success won’t hang on individual accolades. He will dominate the record books and be an Alabama football legend.