Top 2017 recruit and Michigan target Najee Harris to formally commit on Saturday

The No. 1 high school football prospect for the class of 2017 has made his decision… or at least a decision on when he will make the real decision. No. 1 recruit, running back Najee Harris (Antioch, CA) has set a firm deadline, and it’s down to three teams.

The 6-foot-3, 226-pound Harris has already committed verbally to the University of Alabama but says he “will know for sure by Saturday” after the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio (1 p.m. ET on NBC). He is the No. 1 prospect across the board according to 247Sports and other scouting directories nationwide. He’s made it clear that it’s mainly a fight between the incumbent Alabama and the challenger Michigan, with the University of California also in the mix for his services.

I’m not going to announce anything during the game or anything like that. I’ll just know where for sure I’m going. I know I’m going from San Antonio to college.”

“Yeah, I guess you could say I’m still thinking of Cal, but really, it’s Alabama or Michigan,” Harris told Scout. “When I’m ready, once and for all, I’ll say what I’m going to do.”

Harris talked about that he and Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh have developed a strong bond and it’s a big reason why the Wolverines are atop his list. He also says that many speculate that his level of interest in the Crimson Tide had to do with that of now former offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, who was relieved of his duties on Monday, a week before the national championship game. Kiffin was recently hired to become the new head coach at Florida Atlantic University.

But Harris said Kiffin’s departure is irrelevant.

“People keep saying I have this great relationship with Lane Kiffin, but it’s always been Tosh (Lupoi) at Alabama. Tosh and I have always had a great relationship. I never talked to Kiffin all that much,” said Harris, adding that he also becoming closer with Steve Sarkisian, the former USC coach who will replace Kiffin as the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator.

“Sark and I have been talking since I was a sophomore and he offered me at USC,” Harris told Scout. “I went to their camp (in the summer of 2015) and worked out with him then. Especially since he got the offensive coordinator job, I’ve been talking to him more than I ever did with Kiffin. We have the relationship.”

Alabama currently has the No. 1 ranked recruiting class for 2017, while Michigan’s current crop of incoming freshman puts them at No. 4 nationally. Should the Wolverines be able to flip Harris from the Tide, that would undoubtedly close the game some between the two programs. It would also mark the second time in as many years that Michigan reels in the top overall recruit from that class. Last year, it was defensive lineman Rashan Gary pledging to the Wolverines.

The addition of Harris would also make him Michigan’s first top-10 prospect for this class. Their current top recruit, Cass Tech’s own Donovan Peoples-Jones, is ranked No. 11 overall according to 247Sports. A reminder that the U.S. Army All-American Bowl will be live from San Antonio in the Alamodome on Saturday, December 7 at 1 p.m. ET. It’s been a great vehicle over the years for uncommitted players like Harris to announce their pledge to college.


**Photo Credit: MBA Sports/Flickr

Written by Alex Muller

MSU Graduate. Just a city boy born and raised in south Detroit. Baseball is life, a pitcher at heart. Freelance writer for MIPrepZone (News-Herald, Press & Guide).


BELIEVE! Detroit Lions roadmap to Super Bowl LI


VIDEO: Anthony Mantha’s game-tying goal vs. Maple Leafs