Rose Bowl observations: Saban, Alabama players amazed by Harris hurdle
ARLINGTON, Texas — It happened again. By now, Najee Harris’ hurdles are almost a regular occurrence. Although, seeing the Alabama back jump over opposing defenders never seems to get old for the Crimson Tide.
Harris’ latest liftoff occurred during Alabama’s 31-14 victory over Notre Dame in Friday’s Rose Bowl game as the five-star back leaped over Fighting Irish defensive back Nick McCloud during a 53-yard run in the first quarter.
“I don't know why I'm surprised every time he does it because I've been seeing it for three years,” Alabama tight end Miller Forristal said. “You're just like, geez. I play with some really good players and I'm thankful.”
Added receiver DeVonta Smith: “That's what he do on the regular. That's just something that we see normally.”
While Harris’ hurdles have become old hat to his teammates, his latest highlight garnered plenty of praise on social media, including a post from NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, who called it “the best play I’ve ever seen.”
Even Nick Saban, who has previously voiced his displeasure with Harris for going over the top of defenders, tipped his hat to the senior running back following the win.
“I actually try to teach him not to do it, and it didn't work,” Saban said with a laugh. “For a big guy, it's pretty amazing that he can do that. He's kind of got a great feel when a guy is going to try to cut him, which a lot of guys, smaller DBs, all try to cut tackle, bigger backs. When he sees that head go down, man, he'll go over top of them in a heartbeat. It's been very effective for him.”
Harris’ hurdle came on one of 15 carries on the afternoon as he ran for 125 yards against Notre Dame. The performance marked the senior’s sixth 100-yard game of the season and second in as many contests.
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