ESPN 150 RB Alvin Kamara eyes state title

Atlanta NFTC: Alvin Kamara Highlights (1:10)

Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) highlights from his appearance at the Atlanta Nike Football Training Camp. (1:10)

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- ESPN 150 four-star running back Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) usually deflects all questions about his personal goals about as easily as he sheds defenders on the field. That is, until he is asked about which Peach State tailback is going to win next season’s rushing title.

“Oh, that is hard to say,” said Kamara, ranked the No. 5 running back in the nation. “I mean with Gwinnett, we are in the hardest region out here, regardless of what anybody else says. I think it will be between me and Tyren, no discredit to Tyshon Dye (Elberton, Ga./Elbert Co.) and the other guys. I mean Tyren had it last year. He tore it up. Of course they give him the ball every play … ”

Kamara’s good-natured ribbing is directed at Tyren Jones (Marietta, Ga./Walton), the ESPN 150 running back and Alabama commitment.

“He and I have talked about playing together,” Kamara said. “Two elite backs -- the No. 1 and No. 2 backs in the state of Georgia -- that would be crazy. We were at the Alabama camp, playing in a 7-on-7, and we were on the same team so we were in the backfield together. I know Coach [Nick] Saban was loving it because we were just killing everybody. At Alabama, they have a few backs, and whoever works hardest gets in that 1-2-3 rotation. We talked about having a pretty good shot at that.”

That is not the only package deal to which Kamara has been linked. At the Atlanta Nike Football Training Camp, Kamara, linebacker Reuben Foster (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) and safety Tray Matthews (Newnan, Ga./Newnan) talked about playing together in college.

“Me, Reuben and Tray are still talking about that,” Kamara said. “It is not a guaranteed thing but it is something we threw around that we would like to do. If it happens it would be great. We really like the idea and we have been talking about it for a while.”

Foster is committed to Alabama and Matthews is committed to Georgia. Both schools recently made it into Kamara’s top 10.

“I narrowed it down to a top 10,” Kamara said. “It was getting to be a lot with all these coaches. Some of these schools I am not interested in, so I had to cut off a few to make my decision easier. A few coaches weren’t happy, but I can’t play for everybody.”

Despite the recent decommitment of running back Derrick Henry (Yulee, Fla./Yulee), the Georgia staff has not intensified its recruitment of the 5-foot-10, 190-pound speedster. Apparently the coaches don’t need to.

“My recruitment has really been the same but [Henry’s decommitment] is common knowledge so they don’t need to say anything about it,” Kamara said. “That was the only back they had committed, and since he decommitted they know that I see that. Coach [Bryan] McClendon and I have been in touch. We talk on a regular basis. He knows that I know the situation. It is just more opportunity for me. I talk to Coach McClendon like he is my friend. Half the time we don’t even talk about football.”

The Crimson Tide coaches are still chasing Kamara as well.

“They are still recruiting me as hard as they were,” Kamara said. “Coach [Kirby] Smart and Coach Saban are still on me as hard as they have been in the past, just like with Georgia. Coach Smart and I have a good relationship and a good connection. Coach Saban says, ‘No pressure on you. Whenever you feel like you are ready -- even if you don’t go here -- just don’t rush it.’ ”

With Friday’s dismissal of running back Isaiah Crowell, what looked like a loaded backfield at Georgia now appears much thinner, especially coupled with Henry’s decommitted. The situation was not lost on Kamara who, while on his way Friday to visit Clemson, tweeted, “It's crazy how fast doors open up."

The No. 56 player in the nation, Kamara has doors open for him all over the country, but no particular sales pitch will sway him.

“I don’t get tied into the, ‘Come in and play,’ or ‘We will give you your number’ and stuff like that,” Kamara said. “I don’t buy into it. The best thing they can do is put the depth chart in front of me, tell me what you want to do with me and I will go from there. There aren’t any tools that will make me buy in. I want to have a solid season as a freshman. I don’t want to come in and fizzle out and have people say, ‘Oh, he shouldn’t have went there because he isn’t doing anything.’ I want to get some reps in and learn the speed of the game. Then in my sophomore year I want to pick it up and get rolling.”

Kamara wants to get rolling as a running back. Recent rumors have mentioned him being recruited as a wide receiver.

“I don’t know where that came from,” Kamara said. “With me playing wide receiver, that is just another aspect of my game. I mean if I can get on the field early by doing that, I’ll do it just to get on the field. But I don’t know about playing just wide receiver. No one is recruiting me as a wide receiver. Coach Saban and Coach [Mark] Richt have said, ‘We know you play running back but you have that ability to catch the ball so we can flex you out and put you in the slot.’ ”

Rumors follow Kamara like autograph seekers do.

“I have heard rumors and have seen stories like, ‘If Kamara goes to Alabama then Altee Tenpenny (North Little Rock, Ark./North Little Rock) is out’ and stuff like that. I understand people wanting to be ahead and guessing about stuff like that, but you don’t really know until it happens.”

Rather like winning the state rushing title?