One of the biggest pieces of Tennessee’s 2015 signing class is officially in place.
Running back Alvin Kamara of Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College fulfilled his commitment to the Vols made in June when he signed with Tennessee on the first day of the junior college signing day period on Wednesday. He’ll enroll in January and go through spring practice with the Vols.
“Alvin is an extremely competitive kid,” running backs coach Robert Gillespie said. “He has an explosive element to his game that will allow him to help us immediately. I’m excited to coach him this spring and believe that his addition will create a healthy competition in the running backs room.”
Knoxville will be the next stop in Kamara’s winding journey that went from playing high school football in Norcross, Ga., to spending one season on the bench at Alabama to excelling in one year at one of the top JUCO destinations in the country. Kamara was originally ranked as high as the No. 2 overall all-purpose back in the nation coming out of high school, but ended up leaving the Tide after one season that included multiple discipline issues and no playing time as he sat behind some of the nation’s best backs.
Kamara, however, was able to show his natural talent this past season at Hutchinson (also the JUCO home of former Tennessee star Cordarrelle Patterson), helping lead the Dragons to a No. 4 national rankings and rushing for 1,211 yards on just 172 carries (7.0 ypc), 18 touchdowns and adding 219 yards and three more touchdowns receiving. He did all of that despite missing three games due to various minor injuries.
For his efforts, Kamara was named his conference’s Offensive Player of the Year and was also named a First-Team Junior College All-American. Kamara is a consensus top-10 junior college prospect and is a five-star prospect, according to Scout.com.
With or without the lofty recruiting rankings, Kamara is among the most important incoming recruits for the Vols. Junior college players always come in with the expectation that they will contribute early, but Kamara is already being penciled in as UT’s second back behind starter Jalen Hurd after attrition hit the position hard this year. Seniors Marlin Lane and Devrin Young will be moving on and freshmen Derrell Scott (transfer) and Treyvon Paulk (dismissed) are both out of the picture too.
The Vols will bring in at least a couple high school running back recruits, but it will be Kamara who will likely be expected to help Hurd take on the immediate load in 2015. And he might be just the complimentary back Tennessee is looking for with his exceptional speed – a great addition to the hard running style of the bigger Hurd.
Some JUCO film for Kamara: