Alabama running back Damien Harris still “pretty cool” with Mark Stoops and maintains relationship with Kentucky coach

Damien Harris went to a lot of UK football games before picking Alabama over UK.

Former Madison Southern running back Damien Harris will play in his third straight national title game Monday night when Alabama plays Georgia. Harris was a recruiting priority for Kentucky coach Mark Stoops before he picked Alabama and became the Tide’s starter this year.

Here’s some of what he had to say at Saturday’s Media Day.

Q. Have you kept up with Mark Stoops over the years?
DAMIEN HARRIS: I actually have. Me and Coach Stoops kind of still remain — or maintain a relationship and we’re still pretty cool, so we talk every now and then. Talk about what’s going on with them, talk about what’s going on with us. He’s told me good luck before games before. And it’s good to catch up with a guy like that that I was so close with in my recruiting process.

Q. (Question about his decision to go to Alabama.)
DAMIEN HARRIS: It was tough. It was extremely tough decision. It came almost up to the last minute, so it was clearly a tough decision. But at the end of the day I felt like I did what was best for me and I’m obviously happy with my decision. Playing in my third National Championship in three years, I think I made the right choice.

Q. The last year Kentucky didn’t sign a player from Kentucky. Does that surprise you?
DAMIEN HARRIS: I guess. I don’t know.

Q. (No microphone.)
DAMIEN HARRIS: You can say that. Coming from a place where there’s not — it’s not seen as a big football school and — or a big football state, everybody focuses on basketball. But to come from a place like that and kind of show that there can be some talent if it comes out. But I mean, yeah, sure, I guess.

Q. Did you play basketball growing up?
DAMIEN HARRIS: I did. I played up until my sophomore year in high school. I knew for a long time that football was what I wanted to do. It was just being a kid and loving playing the game of sports, being a competitor. I played basketball, I ran track, I did a lot of different things. So just being that competitor, I wanted to do as much as I could. But then after a certain point in time I kind of realized that I had to focus on one or the other.”

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