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Bay Area Standouts in College

Najee Harris  was the country's No. 1 recruit at Antioch High School. Cliff Jackson / Staff Photo
Najee Harris was the country's No. 1 recruit at Antioch High School. Cliff Jackson / Staff Photo

Bay Area football products dominated during this 2020 college football season. Here is a look at some of the top performers from the region heading into the bowl season.

Harris’ Heisman run

Former Antioch running back is bulldozing and shifting his way past everybody in the SEC.

Harris, a five-star recruit while at Antioch and rated as the No. 1 prospect in the country by multiple recruiting outlets, is carrying over that success at No. 1 Alabama. Harris’ 1,262 rushing yards this season are the third-most in the FBS, only behind Iowa State’s Breece Hall (1,436) and UTSA’s Sincere McCormick (1,345), and his 24 rushing scores are the most nationally and five more than anyone else.

Additionally, Harris is in the Alabama record books forever. His 3,639 career rushing yards are now the most in Alabama history, passing that of one-time Heisman winner Derrick Henry.

This past weekend, Harris put forth one of the top conference championship games ever, rushing for 178 yards and two scores while having 67 receiving yards and three touchdowns. His five total touchdowns were the most in SEC Championship game history.

Harris and Alabama are the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff and will face No. 4 Notre Dame. 

Will C. Wood QB delivers at Nevada

Carson Strong, a graduate of Vacaville’s Will C. Wood High School, shined in 2020 at Nevada.

Strong tossed for 2,858 yards, 27 touchdowns and just four interceptions, with his 2,858 passing yards ranking No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 9 nationally, while his 27 touchdown strikes were No. 1 in the Mountain West and tied for No. 6 nationally. He threw for 300-plus yards three times and 400-plus yards twice in nine games.

During Nevada’s 38-27 victory over Tulane in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Strong completed 22 of 28 passes for 271 yards and five touchdowns.

De La Salle grad’s big year at Tennessee

De La Salle’s own Henry To’o To’o put forth another monster campaign as a Tennessee Volunteer.

One year after being a Freshman All-American at Tennessee when he recorded 72 tackles, To’o To’o returned as a sophomore with 76 tackles in 10 games – which were No. 1 on the roster and tied for 12th in the SEC.

To’o To’o was a heralded recruit at De La Salle, regarded as a consensus top 50 player in his class.

Haener’s stellar year at Fresno State

Jake Haener had a breakout 2020 campaign at Fresno State.

The junior quarterback from Monte Vista threw for 2,021 yards and 14 touchdowns in six regular season games in his first year at Fresno State after transferring in from the University of Washington. Of those six games, Haener produced four efforts of 300-plus yards and two of 400-plus yards – including 422 yards at Utah State and 485 yards the following week at Nevada.

Haener tossed for a school-record 90 touchdowns during his prep days at Monte Vista.

Bay Area players make history at San Jose State

During San Jose State’s incredible run to a perfect regular season and a Mountain West title, Bay Area products starred throughout the duration of the regular season.

Here are some of the Bay Area players who performed for the Spartans this year: 

  • Kyle Harmon, a Freedom High School graduate, led the team with 71 tackles – 24 more than anyone else on the roster. 
  • Kairee Robinson, formerly at De La Salle, tallied 285 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
  • Cade Hall, a defensive lineman from Bellarmine, registered 26 tackles and a team-high 10 sacks

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