Five-star Kamara signed, set to compete

Alvin Kamara's signing with Tennessee on Wednesday morning means the Volunteers are getting one of the nation's best running backs in the 2015 class. Here's more per Kamara's conversation with InsideTennessee about being a Vol.

Alvin Kamara is signed, sealed and soon to be delivered.

The Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College running back signed his National Letter of Intent with Tennessee on Wednesday morning at 10:30.

“Yeah, signing with ole Rocky Top,” Kamara told InsideTennessee.

The former Norcross (Ga.) High School standout verbally committed to Tennessee back on June 21 and didn’t budge on that pledge and did not officially visit any schools other than Tennessee. He unofficially visited Knoxville in June and in late November.

Although his pledge was air-tight, staffs from opposing schools competed for the former Under Armour All-America’s services up until the last second.

“I mean there are still some schools calling,” Kamara said. “I mean if Adrian Peterson was a free agent before the incident I am pretty sure everybody would still be calling him. Not saying I’m AP but yeah.”

The Scout five-star prospect and No. 5-rated junior college prospect in the 2015 class that was once at Alabama is pleased to be heading back to the South and to Tennessee after two semesters at Hutchinson.

“It really went by fast,” Kamara said, “but it was still a long time when I was actually there and it’s like, going from where I was at Alabama to a junior college is probably, no offense, but my high school probably had more resources and better organization than where I was at. I’m like, ‘Dang, I’m at a junior college?’ I never thought I would be going to a junior college. I’m thinking everything is going to be perfect but that's not life. Everything can't go as planned. Sometimes you have to take a little detour. That actually helped me as a player and a person to grow because it kind of put me through something just to really see how this really works this business. The business aspect of it and it gave me time to step back and just see everything for what it is.”

Tennessee loses seniors Marlin Lane and Devrin Young after the TaxSlayer Bowl. Things didn’t workout for freshmen and Treyvon Paulk and Derrell Scott. Thus, adding a player of Kamara’s talent level was extremely important for coach Butch Jones and his staff. However, the competition that may have taken place without the defections didn’t deter Kamara from wanting to call Knoxville home.

“I mean, shoot, even with Derrell leaving it really wasn’t an issue, like a concern that I had as far as getting carries and getting on the field. Competition is going to be everywhere,” Karmara said. “You have to compete. Even if they weren't graduating or Derrell didn’t leave, it would have still been the same as how I’m viewing it now. You still have to do the work. Nothing is promised. That's really how I'm looking at it. You still have to grind even though the running back situation is different.”

"ou have to compete. Even if they weren't graduating or Derrell didn’t leave, it would have still been the same as how I’m viewing it now."

Kamara’s talent isn’t just highly thought of by the Tennessee coaches. The Scout network placed a fifth star next to his name just over a month ago. He joins defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie and wide receiver Preston Williams as five-star prospects committed to the Volunteers whose 2015 class ranks No. 6 nationally.

“I mean I don't really look too much into that,” Kamara said of star gazing. “In high school I was a four-star. A lot of the people and media blow it up like ‘four-star, five-star recruit’ but I mean there are some three-star guys that are making hundreds of millions of dollars in the NFL right now. There are guys with no stars making millions of dollars. So that's why I don't really look into it because it doesn't mean much. You still have to produce no matter how many stars you are.

“It was kind of cool for my friends and family and the people that support me. ‘You got that fifth star, finally. They didn't want to give it to you in high school and now you've got it.’ So that's really the only reason I was really looking at it. I was like yeah, that's a pretty cool thing having my fifth star and just like it being such a prestigious thing in the recruiting world and stuff like that, it was pretty cool.”

In nine games with the Blue Dragons, Kamara ran for 1,211 yards with 18 touchdowns, earning Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference offensive player of the year. He also caught 18 balls for 219 yards and three scores.

The competition up in Kansas wasn’t what it is in the SEC but Kamara worked on his game nonetheless.

“Really my main focus was just staying up on the game,” he said, “as far as just pass protection and reading my blocks and kind of being patient because JUCO level is kind of a drop-off from SEC. It really is. Going from Alabama and practicing with guys that are going to the NFL and going to JUCO, it’s like, ‘Oh man, I don’t even have to do anything.’ But, I really put emphasis on pass blocking and doing all the little things right, ball protection, everything, footwork.”

Classes for the spring semester at the University of Tennessee begin on Jan. 7.

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