ATHENS, Ga. -- Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) looked incredibly intense while watching the Georgia Bulldogs upset the Florida Gators at Stegeman Coliseum on Saturday.
To the casual observer, it appeared as though the ESPNU 150 Watch List running back might not have enjoyed his visit to Athens, especially since he grew up as a Gators fan. That was not the case.
“No, I was focused,” Kamara said after heading home. “The visit went well. Coach [Mark] Richt wasn’t here today and I wanted to meet with him. But I talked to him Thursday and he told me he will see me another time and to enjoy my visit. So I got with Coach [Bryan] McClendon and it wasn’t really a true junior day. I called it a VIP day.”
Kamara indicated that the one-on-one time with McClendon was his favorite part of the trip.
“It was just me and Coach McClendon. I was the only running back there,” Kamara said. “Coach McClendon and I got to talk a lot and got to know each other more that we already do. That was really good. I liked that.
“We actually got into the running backs’ room and broke down some film and he was talking about the style of offense -- the pro-style offense and getting into that type of offense. Hopefully after four years when pro scouts start looking at me, then I will be ready for that NFL offense. We just talked about what we could do in the future.”
Richt apparently had a family function that he was attending and could not be there to speak with Kamara.
“I don’t think that hurt Georgia at all,” Kamara said. “I talked to him and he was excited about me being there. He said we will meet up when he gets back.”
Richt did have some stand-ins when it came to recruiting the speedy tailback. Georgia commits Tray Matthews (Newnan, Ga./Newnan) and Shaq Wiggins (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek), put the screws to Kamara, as well as Reuben Foster (LaGrange, Ga./Troup Co.), who was also on the visit.
“I was sitting behind Shaq the whole game and he would turn around every five minutes and ask, ‘So are you good? What are you going to do? ‘ ” Kamara said. “We were eating and he told me to come sit next to him and he was talking me up. It was funny. And Tray, well he said, ‘Just go ahead and commit.’ ”
Despite the good-natured pressure, Kamara did enjoy himself.
“It is always fun with Reuben, Shaq and those guys -- they are funny,” Kamara said. “When we get Together, it is real cool. I was just envisioning myself playing with them the next four years -- even though Reuben is still committed to Alabama -- and I was just kind of trying to see myself in Athens.”
Did it work?
“Based on today, I could see myself in Athens,” Kamara said.
Kamara came to Athens to see some other things as well.
“I wanted to see campus, really,” Kamara said. “I have been to Butts-Mehre, but I have never been inside of it. So just getting in there and just getting familiar with what I am going to be around for four years.”
With the offers pouring in, Kamara has visited some of the schools recruiting him the hardest.
“I have been to Florida and Alabama and this visit was up there with those two,” Kamara said. “And with Georgia it is right here at home. It is only a 35- or 40-minute drive, so that is a good thing.”
The Crimson Tide’s recruitment of Kamara hit legendary proportions when it was reported recently that Alabama sent Kamara 105 letters in a single day. However, his recent visit may have been more effective than all the correspondence.
“I have always said I want to go to a school that feels like home, and Alabama feels like home away from home. I feel like I fit in there,” Kamara said. “The first time I stepped on campus, I felt like I fit into that life at Alabama. The coaches are real cool. It is big-time football.”
The Gators helped their cause, as well, when Kamara traveled to Gainesville.
“At Florida I liked the weather and the campus. The campus is real nice and it was like 80 degrees when I went down there, so I was like, ‘Oh yes.’ ”
The highly recruited running back plans to visit Athens again soon.
“I will probably call Coach McClendon later this week to see when I can come back,” Kamara said. “I will probably come back during the school day to see what it is like and what the workouts are like.”