ATLANTA, GA. (WSFA) - Damien Harris has led the Alabama Crimson Tide in rushing yards in each of the last two seasons and he's looking to make it a third.
He could have left Alabama for the NFL at the end of his junior season. He'd been a member of two national championship winning teams at Alabama and had rushed for over 1,000 yards in both his sophomore and junior campaigns.
Despite all of that, Harris returned for his senior year and is looking to improve more than his physical abilities this fall.
"This year my biggest focus is on being the best leader I can be," said Harris. "Foregoing the draft and coming back for my senior year, being a veteran on this team is something I take great pride in."
The 5-foot-11 inch senior from Richmond, Kentucky, rushed for 11 touchdowns last season and averaged 7.4 yards a carry. But if you ask Harris, it's not the football that he enjoys most about the U of A.
"I just love Tuscaloosa. I love being a part of The University of Alabama, and that is something that brings me a lot of happiness," he expressed. "The mindset across the entire University of Alabama is that we are champions, whether it is from an academic standpoint or an athletic standpoint. I love walking down the street in Tuscaloosa and somebody rolling down their windows when they drive by and yelling 'Roll Tide'. There are just so many things about being a part of The University of Alabama and living in Tuscaloosa that bring us so much joy as athletes. Coming back for my senior year wasn't hard."
Harris also has a head coach in Nick Saban that teaches both him and the team a bit more than just football.
"The fact that he pushes us is one of the greatest things we could have as players. Having a guy push us so much to be the best people we could be, it's just an incredible honor to be able to say that I played for him for four years and it's just something I'll always be thankful for," said Harris.
Harris's senior campaign kicks off Sept. 1 when the Alabama Crimson Tide take on the Louisville Cardinals in Orlando.