Damien Harris doesn’t reside in the top 10 of Alabama’s all-time career rushing record list. But he will vault up the list this season if he stays healthy.

Through three seasons, Harris, a senior running back, has 2,194 yards rushing, a total mainly comprised during his sophomore and junior seasons (he rushed for 157 yards during his freshman campaign).

Given his success last season — 1,000 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns on 7.4 yards per carry — Harris, most thought, would test the NFL waters. But he didn’t. He opted to return to lead the Crimson Tide running backs.

It was sort of a surprise.

"I just wanted to be a part of this program for another year,” Harris said. “I could give you guys a lot of Xs and Os for why I should leave or why I should stay, but at the end of the day, I felt very blessed to be a part of this program for three years. When I was making my decision, that was kind of what was heavy on my mind. This program has been so good to me and the people that have been a part of this program have done a lot for me, and I'm incredibly thankful. So, I just want another year of this. I want to enjoy it for another year and hopefully the opportunity to go out for the draft will still be here next season, but I'm just kind of focusing on still being a part of this program and trying to be a leader for this team this year.

“Some people were surprised. Some people thought that it was a better decision. It was kind of a mixed review. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I have mine, which is why I'm back here, so it doesn't really matter too much."

Harris is 16th on UA’s all-time career rushing list. Given his carries the last two years, it might be a long shot, but he’s 1,398 from breaking the program record. It’s not out of the realm of possibility, but Harris isn’t all that worried about it.

“To be politically correct, no, but I'd be lying to you if I told you I hadn't ever thought about it,” Harris said. “I mean, at the end of the day, that's not what motivates me. What motivates me is being a part of this team, being a leader for this team and being the best player that I can be to help this team be successful.”

Reach Aaron Suttles at aaron@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0229.