Najee Harris


His first carry from scrimmage as a sophomore at Antioch High School went for 80 yards and a touchdown, setting in motion the remarkable football career of Najee Harris. He went on to score three more touchdowns that day versus Acalanes and finished with 279 yards rushing.  From that point on, the 6-foot-2, then 210-pound running back became the prep player to watch in the Bay Area before a storied college career at the University of Alabama and record-breaking start with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

He followed up the Acalanes game with another incredible performance – this time jumping over San Leandro defensive players twice in route to touchdowns. Leaping over opponents became his signature move, soaring past records and powering beyond the goal line turned into his norm.

His biggest statistical prep performance came against perennial Central Coast Section power Milpitas during his junior season when he carried the ball 22 times for 396 yards and three touchdowns, while adding two receptions for 94 yards and two more scores.

He propelled the Panthers to the North Coast Section playoffs in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and a 2015 Bay Valley Athletic League championship following a 44-42 victory over Pittsburg in the 99th Big Little Game. Harris had 190 of his 268 rushing yards in the second half, including three fourth-quarter touchdowns as the Panthers beat Pittsburg for the first time in eight years, secured their first league title since 1984 and first unbeaten regular season since 1977. Antioch advanced to the NCS Division 1 semifinals in 2015 and the finals in 2016 — their first finals appearance in 39 years.

He completed his high school career with 7,948 career-rushing yards, at the time, the most in Bay Area history, and fourth best in California all-time. He rushed for 2,263 yards and scored 23 touchdowns in his sophomore season, 2,744 and 39 as a junior and 2,776 and 36 as a senior. Harris added 165 yards and a touchdown when called up to the varsity as a freshman.

The 2017 Antioch graduate was the 2015 Cal-Hi Sports Player of the Year and the No. 1-rated overall high school recruit for The Class of 2017 by Rivals, Scout and Prep Star. He was selected first team All American by USA Today in 2015 and 2016, named the 2016 Bobby Dodd National High School Back of the Year and was a member of the 2017 Parade All-American team. After playing in the 2017 Army All-American Bowl, he announced his decision to accept an athletic scholarship to the University of Alabama to play for Nick Saban.

During his four years for the Crimson Tide, he rushed for at least 100 yards 13 times, including six as a junior and six as a senior (206 at Ole Miss; 152 vs. Georgia; 119 vs. Mississippi State; 145 at LSU; 178 vs. Florida; 125 vs. Notre Dame). He graduated as the Crimson Tide’s career leader in rushing yards (3,843), touchdowns (57) and rushing touchdowns (46), surpassing the previous record of 42 each by Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry. He also second in career all-purpose yards (4,624) and fourth in career points (342). He was a member of the 2017 and 2020 Alabama national championship teams and was selected as the 2020 SEC championship game MVP. Additionally, he received the 2020 Doak Walker Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top running back, a semifinalist for the 2020 Maxwell Award (top player) and finalist for the 2020 Jason Witten Man of the Year.

Harris was the first running back selected in the 2021 NFL draft with the No. 24 pick overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He started in all 17 games in 2021, with 307 carries, 1,200 rushing yards, 74 catches and 467 receiving yards — all ranked the most by a rookie running back in franchise history — earning him a Pro Bowl selection. Through two seasons, he started in all 34 regular-season games, recording 2,234 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns on 579 attempts, while adding 115 catches for 696 yards and six more scores. He eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing for the second consecutive season and went 430 scrimmage touches (347 rushes and 83 receptions) to open his career without a fumble, which was tied for seventh-most scrimmage touches without a fumble to open a NFL career. He was one of two players in franchise history with 2,200 or more rushing yards and at least 650 receiving yards in the first two seasons in the NFL. In only his second season, Harris was voted offensive team captain by his teammates for the 2022 season. In a Week 3 game vs. Cincinnati, he caught 14 passes for 102 yards, the most receptions in franchise history by a running back and tied for the third-most in Steelers history by any player and tied for the seventh-most in league history by a running back.

Harris enters his third season in 2023 as the starting running back and offensive captain of the Steelers. He’s the only player in franchise history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons.