Alabama loses championship to Clemson in Antioch High grad Najee Harris’ Bay Area return

Screenshot from ESPN2 of Najee Harris, #22 Alabama, stretching for the goal line during the 2nd Quarter of the National Championship game against Clemson Monday night, Jan. 7, 2019.

Najee Harris. Courtesy of rolltide.com

By Luke Johnson

“When he gets the ball, watch out,” said Shaun Alexander, former All-Pro running back.

Alexander was referring to Alabama running back Najee Harris when they bumped into each other at media day Saturday.

However, Harris did not get the ball too often come gametime.

Alabama lost to Clemson, 44-16, in the CFP National Championship at Levi’s Stadium.

In his Bay Area homecoming, Harris rushed for 59 yards via nine carries Monday evening.

“I just have a feeling that I didn’t do a very good job,” said Nick Saban, Crimson Tide head coach, in the postgame press conference. “I always feel that way. Even sometimes when we win, I think there are things that we could have done better or that I could have done better.”

Screenshot of Najee Harris falling just one yard short of the goal line. Alabama scored a touchdown on their next play.

With Alabama facing a large deficit in the second half, its offense ran mostly passing plays. Harris last touched the ball with 8:19 remaining in the third quarter. His 6.6 yards per carry led all rushers.

The Antioch-hometown running back had not played in the Bay Area since December 2016 – his final game in high school.

Harris was vital in Alabama’s comeback victory during last year’s national championship. His 64 rushing yards in the fourth quarter helped the Crimson Tide overcome a 13-point deficit.

He finished second on his team for rushing yards this season with 783. Senior Damien Harris had the most with 876.

Since Najee Harris won’t be eligible to enter the NFL draft until 2020, he could be the featured back for Alabama next season.

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