- Radi Nabulsi, Reporter, DawgNation
Alvin Kamara is the No. 1-rated running back in Georgia, a state known for producing talented tailbacks every year. His Norcross High School team just completed an undefeated season in which the Blue Devils outscored their opponents 401-127.
It could have been much worse if Kamara had been allowed to run wild.
"I think I played a full game against North Gwinnett," Kamara said. "And maybe South Gwinnett. That is it really. In every other game, I have been out by the third quarter or by halftime. My coach always tells me, 'You could have had 2,000 yards right now if I didn't take you out every game.' "
The ESPN 150 standout spent the first half of most games staking out a big lead before sitting out in favor of younger players. He still managed to reach some impressive numbers.
“I think I have 1,400 yards and 20 touchdowns,” Kamara said.
That amount of production in such a limited amount of time is why Kamara is such a prized recruit. For months he has had Alabama and Georgia on the top of his list, but recently he added another program.
“Alabama, Georgia and Oregon are my top three,” Kamara said. “Some other schools have hit me up recently. UCLA’s running backs coach called me. Washington State, too. I mean it is kind of late, but my sister lives out there, so at least they have that edge. My sister and I are real close. She lives in L.A., right downtown. She and I are best friends, and she will support whatever I do. She told me, ‘If you want to be the best, go to where the best are.’ ”
Following the advice of his sister, Garmai Momolu, Kamara plans to visit his top three again soon.
“I am working on a visit to Oregon,” Kamara said. “If I get it all planned, then that will be next week. I just feel that the way they use their running backs fits my game. They flex out their backs in the slot. There is a lot of speed at Oregon, and I feel like I fit that dynamic -- being fast, can run, can catch, can do it all. Coach [Chip] Kelly does a lot of stuff with the offense. That is one of the few teams that I enjoy watching every Saturday. ‘Let me record this game so I can watch it.’ ”
The Under-Armour All-American running back can see himself playing the slot receiver in the SEC as well, but just not for long.
“Everyone has asked me if I would play running back at Alabama,” Kamara said. “If I end up going to Alabama, or even Georgia, and Coach [Mark] Richt or Coach [Nick] Saban said, ‘Look at it this way: you can play strictly running back and get as many reps as you can, or you can play slot receiver and running back for just this year and move back to running back next year where you can get some more time.’ I would say, ‘I’ll play some slot.’ It is a matter of seeing the field. Georgia has Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley, and Bama has T.J. Yeldon and whoever. I’ll play slot my freshman year.”
Both Alabama and Georgia have a history of successful running back tandems, and it seems that the Bulldogs would like Kamara to be part of another one.
“What I found out yesterday was that Georgia wants to take two backs,” Kamara said. “Coach [Bryan] McClendon called me last night and told me that since Marlon Brown went down, they are going to go after another back. He said he didn’t want it to seem to me that they were going behind my back. ‘I just wanted you to know before anybody told you or twisted the story.’ Some writers texted me to let me know that McClendon had gone to see another back on Friday night. I don’t know what that was supposed to do. So I just said, ‘Good. OK, thank you.’ ”
“McClendon said they were going after Shumpert, the guy in Florida, and some other guy,” Kamara said. “I respect that, because they came and called me about it. He and I have a good relationship, and he was up front about it. He said that since Marlon Brown went down, they want to go after another back to bring in another guy in 2013. I really don’t have a problem with that. I am sure Coach Richt has his reason for that.”
Kamara said he does not have a timetable for a decision. All three of his favored schools are ranked in the top five of the BCS standings. Kamara has a definite opinion on who would win if two of them met in the title game.
“If Oregon and Alabama played for the championship, Alabama would win the game,” Kamara said. “Because I feel that they play two different types of football. I am looking at it all logically. If you compare schedules and look at the opponents they play, Oregon has not played anybody that can tackle. There is not going to be anybody on Alabama’s team that cannot tackle Kenjon Barner. But when Barner plays against UCLA, he is going to look like Jerome Bettis.”