Alabama running back Damien Harris turned down the opportunity to enter last year’s NFL draft and instead chose to return for his senior season.

Eight games in, Harris is the Crimson Tide’s second-leading rusher. He has 68 carries for 435 yards and five touchdowns. He’s averaging 54.38 rushing yards per game.

Harris closed out last season averaging 71.43 yards per game on the ground with 11 touchdowns. He rushed for a total of 1,000 yards on 135 attempts.

When asked if he feels like he has developed this season, Harris said he doesn’t know.

“I don’t like to self-critique myself,” he said. “But I have become a better leader. Somebody that has to lead by example, not necessarily with scoring touchdowns or running (for) 100 yards every game, but being consistent in how I practice and how I prepare and how I do little things right on and off the field so I can set an example for all the younger guys on our team.”

The only hiccup in that statement is Harris did not start against Tennessee, despite starting every other game, because of “internal reasons.” UA coach Nick Saban did not elaborate.

Reach Terrin Waack at or at 205-722-0229.