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AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

2018 Heisman Candidate Countdown #17: Damien Harris

Damien Harris could have left Alabama after his junior season, but he opted to return to school. The return could pay off with a 2018 Heisman Trophy run. Here’s the countdown to this point:


#25: Jalen Hurts

#24: Adrian Martinez

#23: Travis Etienne

#22: Shane Buechele

#21: Nick Fitzgerald

#20: Rodney Anderson

#19: Justice Hill

#18: A.J. Brown


During the beginning of last season, Harris was starting to enter the Heisman conversation. The Heisman campaign didn’t last long, but Harris could remain in the race for the entire season this year.


Why he can win it

Nick Saban isn’t just going to hand things out for no reason, but he’ll certainly reward guys for putting the work in. Damien Harris showed his commitment heading into last season, including comically admitting to giving up Honey Buns so he would lose more weight; it showed on the field, and it’s a good bet that Harris continued working hard and progressing heading into his senior season. Saban is going to respect and appreciate Harris returning to school, and he could want to give him with a ton of touches because of his trust in him. Alabama running backs Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry each won the Heisman over the last several years, which could give Harris a boost from the voters. And the Crimson Tide should again be one of the best teams in the country, so he’ll be in the spotlight as one of the team’s better players.


Why he won’t win it

There’s another Harris in the backfield: sophomore Najee Harris, who was a top recruit coming out of high school. If the younger Harris, along with Joshua Jacobs and Brian Robinson Jr., take enough work from the senior, it might be tough to get enough touches for monster overall numbers. Also, maybe Alabama’s passing offense takes some of the shine under Tua Tagovailoa this season after he lit it up in the national title game against Georgia.


What needs to happen

Damien Harris needs to become a workhorse like Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, and Derrick Henry have been for Alabama. Also, the Crimson Tide needs to be in the College Football Playoff conversation.


Stat projection

225 CAR | 1,620 RUSH YDS | 16 RUSH TD | 7.2 AVG

20 REC | 156 REC YDS | 2 REC TD | 7.8 AVG


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