Najee Harris Helped Throw Draft Party at Homeless Shelter He Once Lived In

Just hours before becoming the first running back selected in the 2021 NFL Draft, Najee Harris attended a party held in his honor at a homeless shelter where he once lived.

The Alabama star spent some time at the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP) on Thursday in Richmond, California. The shelter housed him, his four siblings and his parents for several years during his childhood.

And Harris was not just a visitor, as he brought food to be delivered to the current guests.

Speaking to reporters, Harris said the visit stirred deep emotions for him and his family.

"It was really emotional for my mom," he told ABC 7 News.

"Almost as if she was crying, in a way, because we have a lot of memories here. That was a time in my life when it was really low.

"There was a time I needed a helping hand.

"They gave us an opportunity to get back on our feet. So it is my job to give back."

Whatever team drafts Alabama's Najee Harris is getting a special person. Today he threw a draft party for kids at the homeless shelter where he lived for several years growing up. He told me it was emotional the first time he went back to visit. @kron4news #NFLDraft #RollTide

— Kylen Mills (@KylenMills) April 30, 2021

A few hours later, Harris was selected with the 24th overall pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers, becoming the first running back to be selected in this year's draft.

GRIP executive director Kathleen Sullivan said Harris' development was an inspirational story for everyone involved with the shelter.

"Just to see him as a grown man with this kind of opportunity for him today and to know that he lived in this shelter among many other places their family had to move around and lives as a homeless man just speaks to [the thought that] anything is possible," she said.

Harris family eventually left the shelter and moved to Antioch, California, where he developed into a high school football star as he rushed for over 2,200 yards every season, with the exception of his junior year.

Considered a top-three overall prospect by ESPN and 247Sports, Harris received offers from Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame, ultimately committing to the Crimson Tide in 2015.

After spending his first two seasons in Tuscaloosa as the third running back in the depth chart behind Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs, Harris exploded in his junior year, rushing 1,224 yards and 13 touchdowns, averaging 5.9 yards a carry.

He fared even better last season, rushing for 1,466 yards and 26 touchdowns while averaging 5.8 yards a carry and winning the Doak Walker Award as the country's top running back last season.

On Thursday, Alabama became the first school in the common-draft era to have a quarterback, running back and two wide receivers selected in the first round of the same NFL Draft.

Along with Harris, wide receivers Jaylen Waddle and De'Vonta Smith were selected by the Miami Dolphins and the Philadelphia Eagles with the No. 6 and No. 10 pick respectively, while quarterback Mac Jones went to the New England Patriots with the 15th overall pick.

Najee Harris
Najee Harris #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide before the College Football Playoff National Championship game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Hard Rock Stadium on January 11 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Harris was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 24th overall pick of the Draft. Alika Jenner/Getty Images