Five-star running back recruit Damien Harris will commit to either Alabama, Kentucky or Ohio State Friday at a ceremony set to begin at 1 p.m. ET. Out of Berea (KY) Madison Southern High School, Harris is widely regarded as one of the best backs in the country. On the 247Sports composite rankings, he is the No. 2 running back recruit, and the No. 31 player nationally, regardless of position. While the crop of running back recruits nationally is very much down compared to recent years, Harris is still very good.
Why does Harris have such a lofty ranking? Here's an excerpt from his scouting report.
Harris has college-ready size at 5'11 and 200 pounds. There is certainty for college programs in knowing that Harris can take a pounding and keep running, and that he can be a feature back if need be.
I don't buy Harris' reported 4.40 speed, but he does have good wheels and is rarely caught from behind in his substantial highlight package.
Harris does not have the best moves, nor is he the most powerful runner. But he does do a lot of other things really well.
What I really like about Harris is his vision, feel and balance. He has a real understanding and feel for where the hole will open up, or where the cutback lane might emerge. And he has good balance and change-of-direction skills, allowing him to change course and hit the cutback.
Kentucky was seen as the longtime favorite to land Harris. Staying home would likely make him a hometown hero for coach Mark Stoops as he attempts to rebuild the Wildcats' program with resurgent recruiting.
But of late, Alabama is seen as having the edge. The Tide has a history of producing NFL running backs, and Harris was seen hanging out with a number of Alabama prospects at the recent Under Armour All-America Game practices in Orlando, Fla.
Ohio State is listed as a potential choice, but seems very unlikely at this point.