NEW ORLEANS – A handful of high-profile college football players will sit out bowl games this season. But Damien Harris never considered joining their number.
The Alabama running back said he didn’t think of that at all. He’s a draft-eligible junior who has rushed for a team-high 906 yards and 11 touchdowns on 110 carries. He said that’s a decision for individual players to make.
“It’s their decision,” Harris said on Tuesday as Alabama arrived for the Sugar Bowl. “I’m not here to criticize anybody. There are obviously pros and cons for both, playing or not playing. But that’s up to the player. I’m in no position to criticize anybody.”
Florida State safety Derwin James and Oregon running back Royce Freeman both said they would sit out their team’s bowl games this postseason. Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey and LSU running back Leonard Fournette both sat out bowl games last season.
Harris and several teammates will have to make a decision on their NFL futures when Alabama’s season concludes. Defensive backs Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison, wide receiver Calvin Ridley, defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne and running back Bo Scarbrough could all be facing a decision on entering the draft early.
“I think we all do a good job of not letting that bother us or get to us or pay too much attention to it,” Fitzpatrick said. “We all talk to each other about it and we all tell each other we have to be locked in, focused on the game. Because if we play well in this game it’s going to help us a whole lot more than what agent we pick or whoever else we’re talking to. So we’re just focused on playing as well as we can, boosting our stock and doing that.”