Najee Harris
refer to caption
Harris with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021
No. 22 – Pittsburgh Steelers
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born: (1998-03-09) March 9, 1998 (age 24)
Martinez, California
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:242 lb (110 kg)
Career information
High school:Antioch (Antioch, California)
College:Alabama (2017–2020)
NFL Draft:2021 / Round: 1 / Pick: 24
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 6, 2022
Rushing yards:1,464
Rushing average:3.8
Rushing touchdowns:8
Receptions:89
Receiving yards:538
Receiving touchdowns:5
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Najee Jerome Harris (born March 9, 1998) is an American football running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Alabama and was selected by the Steelers in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Early life

Harris is from the San Francisco Bay Area. One of five children of a single mother, he grew up in several troubled neighborhoods, including time in a homeless shelter when he was in middle school before the family moved to Antioch.[1]

High school career

Harris played his high school football career at Antioch High School in Antioch, California.[2] As a sophomore in 2014, Harris rushed for 2,263 yards with 23 touchdowns.[3][4] As a junior he had 2,744 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns.[5] As a senior, he had 2,776 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns.[6]

Najee Harris Rushing
Year Games Attempts Yards TD
2013 5 33 165 1
2014 11 271 2,263 23
2015 12 243 2,744 36
2016 13 291 2,776 34

Recruiting

Harris was considered the #1 recruit in the class of 2017, by Scout and Rivals. 247Sports rated him as the No. 2 overall recruit behind Jaelan Phillips while ESPN ranked him the No. 11 overall recruit.[7] Harris received offers from multiple top football programs including the Alabama Crimson Tide, Michigan Wolverines, Ohio State Buckeyes, USC Trojans, and Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He committed to the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2015. Harris was one of the most hyped running back recruits since Bryce Brown in 2009 and Leonard Fournette in 2014. Multiple recruiting experts compared him to Adrian Peterson.[8]

US college sports recruiting information for high school athletes
Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight Commit date
Najee Harris
RB
Antioch, CA Antioch (CA) 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 226 lb (103 kg) Apr 18, 2015 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:
5/5 stars
   Rivals:
5/5 stars
   247Sports:
5/5 stars
   ESPN grade: 93
Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 1 (RB); 1 (West); 1 (Cal)   Rivals: 1 (RB); 1 (Natl); 1 (Cal)  247Sports: 1 (Natl); 1 (RB); 1 (Cal)  ESPN: 1 (RB); 1 (West); 1 (Cal)
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height and weight.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.

Sources:

  • "Alabama Football Commitments". Rivals.com. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  • "2017 Alabama Football Commits". Scout.com. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  • "ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  • "Scout.com Team Recruiting Rankings". Scout.com. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  • "2017 Team Ranking". Rivals.com. Retrieved April 13, 2016.

College career

2017 season

As a freshman, Harris played in all 14 games but had limited carries as players like Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough, and Josh Jacobs handled the main workload. Harris finished the season with 370 yards on 61 carries averaging 6.1 yards per carry. He scored three rushing touchdowns.[9]

2018 season

In his sophomore season, Harris was third on the depth chart behind Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs. Harris played in 15 games, recording 783 yards on 117 carries and scoring four rushing touchdowns.[10] Harris had his best game against Arkansas State, carrying the ball 13 times and gaining a career-high 135 yards.

2019 season

Harris in 2019
Harris in 2019

With Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs off to the NFL, Harris became the starting running back for Alabama Crimson Tide.[11] During this season, Harris had 1,224 yards and 13 touchdowns while catching 27 passes for 304 yards and seven touchdowns.[12] Despite speculation that he would declare for the 2020 NFL Draft, Harris announced that he would return to Alabama for his senior year.[13]

2020 season

In 2020, Harris was the starting running back for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Against the Missouri Tigers, Harris had 17 attempts for 98 yards and three touchdowns. Against the Georgia Bulldogs he ran for 31 attempts with 152 yards, one touchdown and 4.9 yards on average. His best game of the season was against Ole Miss, where he attempted 23 rushes for 206 yards with five touchdowns. He finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting.[14][15] Harris finished his career as the all-time leader in rushing yards (3,843), total scrimmage yards (4,624) and touchdowns (57) for the Crimson Tide.

Statistics

Legend
CFP national champion
Led the NCAA
Bold Career high

College statistics

NCAA Collegiate Career statistics
Alabama Crimson Tide
Season Team GP Rushing Receiving Scrimmage
Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD Touch Yds Avg TD
2017 Alabama 10 61 370 6.1 3 6 45 7.5 0 67 415 6.2 4
2018 Alabama 15 117 783 6.7 4 4 7 1.8 0 121 790 6.5 4
2019 Alabama 13 209 1,224 5.9 13 27 304 11.3 7 236 1,528 6.5 20
2020 Alabama 13 251 1,466 5.8 26 43 425 9.9 4 294 1,891 6.4 30
Career 51 638 3,843 6.0 46 80 781 9.8 11 718 4,624 6.4 58

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span
6 ft 1+38 in
(1.86 m)
232 lb
(105 kg)
33+14 in
(0.84 m)
10+14 in
(0.26 m)
All values from Pro Day[16][17][18]

Harris was selected in the first round with the 24th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.[19] He was the first running back selected.[20] On May 25, 2021, Harris signed his rookie contract with the Steelers, worth $13.1 million including a $6.9 million signing bonus over four years.[21]

2021

In Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Harris recorded 142 all purpose yards, including 14 catches in 19 targets. This tied the NFL record for most catches in a game for a rookie running back, and were the second-highest amount of targets for a running back since 1992 (when the data was first tracked).[22] In Week 5 against the Denver Broncos, Harris recorded 122 yards on 23 carries and a rushing touchdown in the 27–19 win.[23] It marked his first game rushing over 100 yards. He became the first Steelers' rookie to score a rushing touchdown and record 100 yards rushing on his first five games, since Franco Harris in 1972.[24] In Week 17, Harris ran for a career-high 188 yards and the game-sealing touchdown in a 26–14 win over the Cleveland Browns.[25]

Harris finished his rookie season with 1,200 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, and 74 catches for 467 yards and three touchdowns.[26] He finished fourth in rushing yards, fourth in all-purpose yards, and led all running backs in receptions.[27] His 381 touches led the NFL and had zero fumbles.[28] He was selected as an alternate for the 2022 Pro Bowl, replacing Bengals running back Joe Mixon.[29] He was named to the NFL All-Rookie Team.[30]

NFL career statistics

Regular season

NFL career statistics
Year Team Games Rushing Receiving Fumbles
GP GS Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
2021 PIT 17 17 307 1,200 3.9 37T 7 74 467 6.3 25T 3 0 0
Career 17 17 307 1,200 3.9 37T 7 74 467 6.3 25T 3 0 0

Postseason

NFL playoff career statistics
Year Team Games Rushing Receiving Fumbles
GP GS Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
2021 PIT 1 1 12 29 2.4 8 0 2 −1 −0.5 0 0 1 1
Career 1 1 12 29 2.4 8 0 2 −1 −0.5 0 0 1 1

Personal life

Harris graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Consumer Services in 2020.[31] During his last college football season, Harris began celebrating touchdowns by striking the iconic World Cup pose of Megan Rapinoe. He mentioned finding Rapinoe's views on feminism and standing for her beliefs as "motivating" and "inspirational".[32]

In January 2019, Harris signed with Beast Mode Marketing, the marketing agency of former NFL running back Marshawn Lynch.[33]

On the day of the 2021 NFL Draft, Harris declined the invitation to the event in Cleveland, Ohio, opting instead to host a party for the kids served at Greater Richmond Interfaith Program, the homeless shelter he spent his childhood at. He later gathered with family and friends to watch the draft at a restaurant owned by Lynch, in Emeryville, California.[34]

In 2021, Harris founded the nonprofit organization Da' Bigger Picture Foundation, which provides assistance to families impacted by homelessness and hunger.[35]

References

  1. ^ Kroichik, Ron (April 29, 2021) [April 25, 2021]. "Najee Harris once was homeless. Now, he's an NFL first-round pick". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 24, 2021.
  2. ^ Kroichick, Ron (November 28, 2015). "Antioch's Najee Harris has run into national spotlight". SFGate (San Francisco Chronicle). Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  3. ^ "Top-ranked Antioch football player's future is bright". East Bay Times. August 25, 2015. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
  4. ^ Johnson, Luke (October 1, 2015) [September 22, 2015]. "Antioch High School's Najee Harris leading team to new heights". The Press. Retrieved July 24, 2021.
  5. ^ Kroichick, Ron (August 28, 2016). "The Najee Chronicles". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 24, 2021.
  6. ^ "Najee Harris". 247Sports. Retrieved July 24, 2021.
  7. ^ "2017 ESPN 300". ESPN. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  8. ^ Donohue, Tyler (January 24, 2017). "College Football's Next Big Thing: 2017 No. 1 Overall Recruit Najee Harris". Bleacher Report. Retrieved July 24, 2021.
  9. ^ "Najee Harris 2017 Game Log". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  10. ^ "Najee Harris 2018 Game Log". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  11. ^ Zenor, John (August 20, 2019). "Najee Harris finally gets to be Alabama's primary runner". yahoo.com. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  12. ^ "Najee Harris 2019 Game Log". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  13. ^ Kercheval, Ben (January 15, 2020). "Alabama star RB Najee Harris decides to return to school in 2020, holding off NFL Draft". CBS Sports. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  14. ^ Casagrande, Michael (December 25, 2020). "Alabama has 2 Heisman finalists, Najee Harris 5th in voting". AL.com. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  15. ^ "Najee Harris 2020 Game Log". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  16. ^ "Najee Harris Draft and Combine Prospect Profile". NFL.com. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
  17. ^ "Najee Harris, Alabama, RB, 2021 NFL Draft Scout, NCAA College Football". draftscout.com. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
  18. ^ "Najee Harris 2021 NFL Draft Profile". insider.espn.com. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
  19. ^ Varley, Teresa (April 30, 2021). "Steelers select Najee Harris in first round". Steelers.com. Retrieved May 7, 2021.
  20. ^ "2021 NFL Draft Listing". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  21. ^ Druin, Donnie (May 25, 2021). "Najee Harris Signs Rookie Contract With Steelers". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  22. ^ Pryor, Brooke (September 29, 2021). "Why big receiving games for Steelers' Najee Harris likely won't be the norm". ESPN.com. Retrieved October 13, 2021.
  23. ^ "Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers – October 10th, 2021". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  24. ^ Pryor, Brooke (October 10, 2021). "Steelers' offensive line leads way to big games for Najee Harris, Ben Roethlisberger". ESPN.com. Retrieved October 13, 2021.
  25. ^ "Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers – January 3rd, 2022". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  26. ^ "Najee Harris 2021 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  27. ^ "2021 NFL Rushing". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  28. ^ "2021 NFL Scrimmage Stats". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  29. ^ "2021 NFL Pro Bowlers". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  30. ^ "2021 NFL All-Rookie Team". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  31. ^ Karle, Rick (January 12, 2021). "Najee Harris' mom says experience at Alabama has been life-changing". WVTM. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  32. ^ Reed, Tom (May 6, 2021). "Najee Harris lived amid 'two blocks of hell.' He trained in the dark. He dodged trouble like he did defenders. And now, it's all daylight". dkpittsburghsports.com. Retrieved October 13, 2021.
  33. ^ Wisniewski, Lindsey (January 19, 2021). "Najee Harris goes Beast Mode, signs with Marshawn Lynch's marketing agency". nbcsports.com. Retrieved October 13, 2021.
  34. ^ Nakano, Andrea (April 29, 2021). "Bay Area Football Phenom Najee Harris Drafted by Steelers". sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com. Retrieved October 13, 2021.
  35. ^ Snarr, Peter (June 25, 2021). "Bay Area native Najee Harris advocates for homeless with Newsom". kron4.com. Retrieved October 13, 2021.