Tua Tagovailoa wasn’t the only prominent Alabama freshman to consider transferring after the 2017 season was over.
According to a feature in the San Francisco Chronicle, running back Najee Harris also contemplated transferring from the school. Like Tagovailoa, Harris was a key contributor in Alabama’s comeback win over Georgia in the National Championship Game.
Per the story, Harris immediately flew back to his home in California following the win over Georgia to figure out what he wanted to do after a “mentally challenging” season where he didn’t see the field much.
“I told him there’s not another school that is going to prep him as well, and give him the competition every day to get him ready for (playing on) Sundays,” [Harris’ personal trainer Marcus] Malu said of their conversations in January. “He was just down. I said, ‘You have to go back. I know you’re down right now, it happens. But you have to go back.’
“He needed the mental battles, so he can stay focused and hungry. I told him, ‘You’ve always been the hardest worker, and now you’re in a room full of hard workers. Nobody remembers what you did all year, they remember the yardage you gained in the title game.’”
Tagovailoa admitted earlier this spring that he had thoughts of transferring from Alabama following the season. The quarterback is now an Alabama legend after his touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith in overtime for the title and will compete with Jalen Hurts — the QB he replaced during the game — for the starting job in 2018.
Harris was the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2017
Harris entered the 2017 season as the best prospect in his high school class … not only at running back, but overall. Harris was a five-star recruit and Rivals’ No. 1 ranked prospect.
Harris ended up with the third-most carries of Alabama’s running backs behind Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough. He had 61 carries for 370 yards, including a six-carry, 64-yard performance against Georgia. Scarbrough left for the NFL and Harris will compete with Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs for the primary ballcarrier duties.
“The only thing I can tell you is, I hope I’m on the field more,” Harris said. “Last year was the worst feeling. That whole season was mentally challenging.”
Had Harris transferred, he would have been the second-straight top Rivals running back to transfer from Alabama. B.J. Emmons, the top-rated running back in the class of 2016, transferred a summer ago to Florida Atlantic, where he’s playing for former Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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