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Jumbo Package: Inside Najee Harris’ decision to return to school

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Michigan vs Alabama Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. The Gym Tide will face a difficult test tonight as top ranked Oklahoma comes to Coleman Coliseum. Cecil has the preview for you there.

Not a ton going on today, but Najee Harris officially announced his return through his personal trainer and mentor, along with some insight into what swayed him.

“The more and more he thought about it, the more and more I knew there was a possibility he was going to go back,” said Malu, a longtime mentor figure for Harris. “… If he really felt comfortable with the grades that he got, I think he would have made that jump (to the NFL). But coming back, I think it’s more school — he really does want that degree — and then another part of it is I think there’s unfinished business. And I think there’s some questions that he wants to answer for everybody. And I think he’s going to prove a lot of people either wrong or right.”

It sounds like Najee is motivated to win, and also perhaps felt a bit slighted by some of the things he read in his draft grade. A highly productive senior running back on a mission sounds like a great start for the 2020 squad.

Al dot com has some photos of the Bryant Denny renovation progress:

On the west side of the stadium, everything on the old press box level has been gutted to make way for club seating. A photo athletics director Greg Byrne posted last week to Twitter shows the daylight shining through the space one occupied by the press level on club seating.

From the outside, the backside of the stadium looks stripped down with only the president’s club (a level below the old press box) remaining untouched.

Christopher Walsh has a nice profile on Jahvon Quinerly, and his impact as a scout team player despite the NCAA’s denial of his waiver.

Lewis had a game-high 25 points. During practice Quinerly was wearing No. 10, the number of another Philadelphia-area player, Samir Doughty, who led the Tigers in scoring by averaging 15.1 points.

He fouled out with six.

His name may not have been on the stat sheet, yet Quinerly still played a big part in the win.

Whether we get to see Kira and Jelly play together in a game remains to be seen. Hopefully Lewis and Petty both return for another year, though either could be gone depending on draft grades.

Javion Cohen spoke about his reasons for coming to Alabama.

“Trust within one staff made the difference,” Cohen told on Wednesday. “I was told by Auburn that if I went there (offensive line coach J.B.) Grimes would be my coach for four years. He’s out. It was just trust in one staff. I believe in (Alabama head) coach (Nick) Saban and (offensive line) coach (Kyle) Flood and coach (Charles) Kelly more than I did with Auburn.”

You may remember Cohen for this quote:

You have to respect a man who knows sleaze when he sees it.

Last, perhaps we are having a bit too much fun with this, but LSU fans got the shortest championship celebration ever before reality set back in.

“Burrow’s comment about ‘I’m not a student-athlete anymore, yeah it was real money.’ If you care about the program, do you really say that,” Herbstreit said. “Going into this game I was thinking with Tua leaving Alabama, I was like not only are they gonna win this thing, there’s a really good chance that Coach O’s got some mojo going right now. This thing’s gonna be around for a while.

“And after the dust settled I’m like let me get my Bama roster back out. I don’t see them coming back next year at all.”

Keep saying it, Booger. Texas is very likely to do a number on the Bayou Bengals in week two next season, and with the roster attrition plus Joe Brady and Dave Aranda leaving, there is going to be much to rebuild in Baton Rouge during what could easily be a four loss season. The fanbase seems to believe that they will simply be able to reload the same way Alabama has done under Saban, but there is little to suggest that the processes are in place to do so. Guess we will see what Coach O is made of.

That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.

Roll Tide.