Alabama may be losing star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to the 2020 NFL Draft, but it is returning another pivotal piece to its offense for 2020. Running back Najee Harris will eschew the draft and instead return as a senior next season for the Crimson Tide, according to 247Sports, which states that Harris is not expected to make an announcement on social media.
No official announcement has been made by Alabama on Harris' future.
Once Harris' decision is official, this will be a massive win for Alabama next year. Harris, a former five-star recruit in the Class of 2017, led the Tide with 1,224 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns as the offense's primary running back. Those 13 scores tied for second in the SEC and made him one of the most productive rushers in college football last season.
Harris has been a part of Alabama's rotation in the backfield since his freshman season, when he carried the ball 61 times for 370 yards and three touchdowns. He was a complementary piece to Damien Harris in 2018, finishing second on the team with 783 yards. This past year, however, he emerged as the Tide's go-to weapon in the run game. He saved his best overall performance of the season for last in 35-16 win over Michigan in the Citrus Bowl in which he rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
Harris has not been getting as much NFL draft hype as other running backs in a deep class, however, and was unlikely to be a Day 1 selection. Still, with size, vision and an ability to catch out of the backfield, Harris could be one of the better overall running backs in college football next season and a possible first-round selection in 2021.
Underclassmen have until Jan. 20 to declare for the draft. Already, three Alabama juniors have announced they will return to school in 2020: linebacker Dylan Moses, offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood and wide receiver DeVonta Smith. However, Alabama is losing Tagovailoa, OL Jedrick Wills Jr., safety Xavier McKinney and WRs Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III, all of whom could be first-round selections.