One of the top prospects in the country is still in shock at the events of the last nine months. After running for 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns in his first season as a full-time starter, running back Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) saw his recruitment explode.
Double digit offers have since arrived for the ESPN 150 prospect, with the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide thought to the be the front-runners for his commitment, expected by the end of the summer.
Kamara thinks back on how he used to dream of such things.
“I made some big strides so far this year as far as my overall skill goes,” Kamara said. “I increased my speed, got stronger, faster, and most of all I got a better fell for the game itself. But I still could not have imagined I would be in the position I am in right now. One of the top high school football players in the nation!
“I remember me and my boy, Ryan Jenkins, would just sit in the basement and talk all day about getting offers and doing all of the things that I have been able to do in just a few short months. Sometimes I cannot even go to sleep because all of this just seems so surreal. All I can say is I am counting my blessings and staying humble.”
Last month, Kamara competed in the Atlanta Nike Football Training Camp alongside more than 200 of the top prospects from around the southeast. The competition was outstanding, and the 5-foot-10, 190-pound running back arrived at the Buford practice fields with the bar set high for himself.
“My goal coming in was to win the MVP for the running backs and earn an invite to The Opening,” Kamara said, “and at the end of the day, I was ecstatic to learn that I accomplished both.”
Following the camp, he was given another honor he had long dreamt of.
“On April 27 I formally accepted an invite to the Under Armour All-America game that was extended to me from <i>the</i> Tom Luginbill,” Kamara said. "A dream come true is a little cliché, but that is honestly what it is. All of the hard work that I have been putting in is finally paying off.”
The Under Armour All-America Game takes place at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., after practices at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. The versatile running back will now have his name mentioned in the same breath as former tailback standouts Trent Richardson and Isaiah Crowell.
Kamara is excited about the opportunity.
“It is crazy because I remember watching guys like A.J. Green and Julio Jones play in this game, and for me to be able to have an opportunity to take part in it also is nothing short of an honor and a blessing,” Kamara said. “I am just ready to show the country what this Georgia boy with big dreams can do.”
Earlier this year Kamara came down with the flu, and had to cancel a junior day visit to Clemson. After taking an abbreviated trip to the University of Georgia, Kamara’s desire to compete brought him out to a local 7-on-7 tournament, where he participated even though he was noticeably sick between games, sometimes even vomiting between plays. For Kamara it was just another day at the office.
“Some days you feel like you are on your A-game, and others you feel like you have nothing left in you,” he said. “But those are the days I look back on and smile, because I know that where I am now is the sum of all of those days, both good and bad.”
Kamara was also quick to give credit for his success at Norcross to his teammates and his coaching staff, who he says have guided him through endeavors on and off the field. With that in mind, he has worked hard to become the type of athlete who will be successful in life long after he has fought for his last first down.
“One of my favorite quotes is ‘Character can take you a long way,’ " Kamara said. “I think about that on a daily basis and try to incorporate it into everything I do. Because being a star on the field is not enough, you also have to be a star off it. Knowing that I make sure to practice good character qualities and try to mold myself into a likeable person that people want to be around and help. Not the opposite.”
After the Nike Camp, ESPN National Recruiting Director Tom Luginbill tweeted that Kamara “might be a special one, and I don't say that about many guys.” With his athletic ability and approach to the game, Kamara stands a great chance of proving Luginbill right.