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Countdown to Kickoff: No. 22 — Put some respect on Najee Harris’s name

The best pound-for-pound running back in Alabama football history

College Football Playoff Semifinal - Notre Dame vs Alabama Photo by UA Athletics/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

Consistent. Powerful. Cagey. Fast. Agile. Athletic. Deft. Elusive. Punishing. Smart.


Take your pick of any and all adjectives to describe Alabama’s Najee Harris, and they still pale next to the reality of the player. What phrase would I use to describe Najee?

Greatest of All Time.

How consistently dominant was No. 22? The stats will honestly surprise you.

  • SEC’s scoring leader from scrimmage both years that he started.
  • NCAA’s scoring leader from scrimmage in 2020 — in a year where Mac Jones set records and Smitty won the Heisman and Biletnikoff
  • SEC all-time scoring leader from scrimmage (57)
  • He was the SEC and NCAA’s leader in rushing yards from scrimmage in 2020.
  • He averaged 6.0 yards per carry for a four-year career — never dropping below 5.8 YPC
  • He caught almost 800 yards worth of passes, to go with his 3483 yards on the ground
  • He was such a good wide receiver that in 2020, he was 7th in the SEC in touchdown catches and 9th in receiving yards.
  • He averaged 6.2, 6.2, 6.4, and 6.5 yards every play over a career.

I can hear the cries now of “what about Derrick Henry,” the beloved beast who took a team on his considerable shoulders and lead ‘Bama to a national title? In almost every metric, The King comes up short. Najee obliterated Derrick Henry’s all-time rushing record by almost 300 yards. Najee had a dozen more total touchdowns than Henry. He had 67 more catches and 8 more receiving TDs than Henry. In yards from scrimmage? Najee again leads (6.4 YPA vs. 6.3). The only metric where the two are even tied? Yards-per-carry — where both finished with 6.0 over their career.

You want highlights? We’ve got highlights.

You want hands? We’ve got hands

You want that jaw-dropping athleticism? Oh, yeah, we’ve got that too.

You want clutch? We’ve got clutch — even as a freshman

You want jokes? We’ve even have jokes

I’m not here to run down any Alabama football great. And there have been a lot of outstanding men and players in the Tide’s history over the past 130 years. But in terms of the complete package, none will top Najee Harris — Healthy, consistent, a bull on the ballet floor and a ballerina on this field of carnage, hands of a wide receiver, blocking of a fullback, shiftiness of a scatback, as powerful as the I-backs of old, a record-setter, a man who does things on a football field that will astound you...and to his marrow a clutch baller and a winner.

And, as all greats do, he saved his best for last, in the most meaningful moment of his career and the 2020 season.

There may be 22 days until Alabama Football, but this 22 is No. 1.


Is Najee the GOAT at Alabama?

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    Yes. Numbers don’t lie.
    (158 votes)
  • 36%
    Okay, you may have convinced me. But I’m still not 100% there.
    (137 votes)
  • 17%
    No. Because (insert guy here) is.
    (66 votes)
  • 5%
    (19 votes)
380 votes total Vote Now