Alabama Football: Najee Harris to take on NFL as first-round pick and more

Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports /

Thursday night former Alabama Football running back, Najee Harris became the latest Crimson Tide, NFL first-round RB. Running backs being selected in the NFL Draft’s first round is no longer a lock. The Pittsburgh Steelers realized Najee Harris was too good to pass up.

Najee can be a bruising runner or he can juke a linebacker. His hands were so good he could have been a college wideout. His versatility is tailored for the NFL. The NFL is loaded with freak athletes. Najee is another one. To avoid undue risk of injury, Nick Saban tried to teach Harris not to hurdle tacklers. Saban failed. It was just too easy for Najee to jump over guys.

As an Alabama Crimson Tide running back, Najee made history. He owns the Alabama Football record for career touchdowns (57) and for career rushing touchdowns (46). His 3,846 career rushing yards are another Alabama Football record.

Those who see Najee Harris as just a great football player are missing a bigger story. Two years ago, Bama Hammer published a Najee Harris profile and in part of the title we said in Najee’s life football greatness the least challenge.

He came up hard in and around Oakland, CA. Housing was a challenge for his family for several years. Bouncing from the lodging of relatives to living in a car, to homeless shelters, a bare floor was sometimes the bed. There were frequent food insecurity issues. There were family issues of abuse.

Najee could have been lost. One tool on the path out was funneling anger into football. First, the anger, then the football saved him. He once admitted he did not come to Tuscaloosa because of Nick Saban. He became a Crimson Tide player because he wanted to compete with the best, on the practice field and on Saturdays.

Along the way, the great football player became a young man who had a purpose beyond football. He became a leader of other young men; young men concerned with the wrongs of life away from the gridiron. Several months ago, Najee and Landon Dickerson were the designated player leaders to inform Nick Saban they were planning a march to protest police treatment of Black Americans across the country.

Nick Saban marched with his team. Harris believes the team coming together for the march was an integral step that led to a National Championship months later. Speaking about the support Nick Saban gave for the march, Najee said,

"I feel like that’s what really made us win this championship to be so close.That’s what made the team really gain trust and respect for Saban other than football. That’s what really propelled it – when the issues happened and that’s what really made us bond together as a team."

Nick Saban and NFL Cash. dark. Next

Many college players come from tough backgrounds. For those that do, getting to the NFL is a portion of redemption.