1. RBs Najee Harris, Sr. Alabama
Let’s do this again.
Najee Harris was No. 1 on last year’s Great Players About To Go Nuclear list, but that was couched a bit by combining him with Brian Robinson.
Robinson ran for 441 yards and five scores, and he might have an expanded role this year, but Harris led the team with 1,224 yards and 13 touchdowns, and he caught 27 passes with seven scores.
Was that “going nuclear?” That might be a bit of a stretch, but he had a better season than you might think.
The Bama offense focused around Tua Tagovailoa winging it around the year, so Harris wasn’t needed as a workhorse. He still ran for over 100 yards against Southern Miss and Texas A&M, and he was up there in the Best Player on the Field debate in the epic shootout loss to LSU – he ran 19 times for 146 yards and a score, and caught three passes for 44 yards and a touchdown.
But when Tagovailoa went down against Mississippi State, Harris stepped up.
He ran for three scores in the win over the Bulldogs, and he come up with his two biggest run totals of the season in the final two games with 27 carries for 146 yards and a score against Auburn, and with 24 carries for 136 yards and two touchdowns in the Citrus Bowl win over Michigan.
He turned into the player everyone thought Alabama was getting when he was the No. 1 of No. 1 recruits in 2017, and he looked more than ready to make the jump to the NFL.
But he’s back, he’ll combine with Robinson to provide a killer 1-2 punch, and he should be in for a 1,500-yard season as one of the SEC’s biggest stars.
PHOTOS: Sam Howell Credit: James Guillory, Najee Harris Credit: John David Mercer, Hamilcar Rashed Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports