Tag:Alvin Kamara
Posted on: March 3, 2012 11:52 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2012 11:55 pm
 

New Level 7-on-7 Day One Updates

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ROSWELL, Ga. -- The recruiting landscape shifted into a higher gear on Saturday as hundreds of players from as far away as Michigan descended upon Centennial High School in suburban Atlanta for the first New Level Athletics Elite 7-on-7 tournament of the year. With 18 teams taking part, the event drew some of the top talent from across the country to show off their skills and allowed several to make a name for themselves, hoping that will translate into scholarship offers down the road.

One player who needed no introduction was Marietta (Ga.) running back and Alabama commitment Tyren Jones. Easily among the 10 best players in the state after a terrific junior year, the speedster was the focal point of Team Georgia's offense as they fought their way out of the round-robin format that made up day one.

"Some people might know who I am but I'm not really worried about it," Jones said. "I just want to go out here and help my team win."

Although he is a multi-purpose back, Jones lined up at receiver for the day and looked like a natural. Though he looks like more a guy that would be utilized out of the slot, he typically was found on the outside against the opposition's top cornerback and still had little trouble finding soft spots in coverage or beating his man deep.

"I just want to prove that I can catch the ball well," he said. "I'm lining up to play receiver even though I'm a running back."

The 5-foot-9, 200-pounder's commitment to the Crimson Tide came after attending a recent Junior Day in Tuscaloosa and picking up an offer from head coach Nick Saban. While the timing surprised a few folks, Jones liked what the program was offering and feels his talents will mesh extremely well within the offense.

"It wasn't really a pitch, they just told me that I fit really well into their system and their system really fits me," he said. "They said I'm an all-purpose running back and that's what they need at Alabama. They watched film and saw me split out some an basically said I'm going to come out of the backfield and catch the ball."

Jones was particularly impressed with the facilities and was sold on how well the program took care of the players in terms of nutrition and weightlifting. Although some might be deterred at Alabama signing the top recruiting class seemingly every year, the tailback is looking forward to the competition and thinks the class of 2013 might come in as the best of the past few years anyway.

"I think it's something special this year," Jones said. "We can win some more national championships. They don't really brag about (winning national titles) but they know they have the talent and the recruiting to win another.

Still, that hasn't stopped a few programs from continuing to make their pitch with plenty of time between now and Signing Day.

"Purdue, Florida and I'd say Georgia," he said of programs still recruiting him hard. "They're all still talking to me and sending letters."

Jones' 7-on-7 teammate - and Georgia commit - Shaquille Wiggins was not with the squad because he was in Athens for the Bulldogs' Junior Day but will return for the championship round on Sunday. The addition not only gives the group a top cornerback but somebody that has been very open about his program being the one everybody should be looking at. Although Jones' recent pledge to Alabama is strong, he still hears it from Wiggins despite him being a bit of a recruiter himself.

"Not really, I talk to him every once and a while but it's not too much," Jones said. "I'm really (recruiting teammate) Brandon Kublanow to come down with me. Other than that, I'm talking to friends and trying to make sure Reuben Foster stays (committed). He's real excited but it sounds like he's going to stay with Alabama."

While recruiting will sort itself out for others, Jones will turn his attention to the field on Sunday with hopes of doing something he's planning on doing a lot in college: winning.

Kamara is cold and hot at the same time

One of Michael Jordan's most memorable games in a career full of them was Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals. Most remember it simply as 'The Flu Game.'

While the stakes were significantly (significantly) less on the fields Saturday, Norcross (Ga.) running back Alvin Kamara was channeling his inner-Jordan. Under the weather with flu-like systems he was still one of the fastest players at the event and helped contribute several big plays and victories for Georgia Elite.

"I'm trying to hang in there I'm so sick," Kamara said. "I dropped a few balls. But I'm bouncing back, we'll have to see with these next games."

On top of a fever and his skin a few shades lighter than what it normally is, the cheerful Kamara also was dealing with the opposition's best shot. As one of several players with multiple FBS offers, he had a bit of a target on his back while he was running routes and catching passes.

"A little bit," he said. "Some guys see me and say, 'Oh he's got all these offers and blah, blah, blah.' But that's just going to make me play harder."  

The cold and windy conditions in the Atlanta area were pretty much the opposite of Kamara's recruitment. Holding just a single offer, from Syracuse, at the Rising Seniors Bowl right before New Year's, the 5-foot-10, 190-pounder has turned into one of the hottest prospects in the country.

"It's been crazy," he said. "From one to eleven. It's just crazy."

HIs most recent offer came from the opposite coast and USC, with plenty of other schools close to extending an one. He doesn't have a top group of schools but there have still been a few that have stuck out in his mind and are recruiting him the hardest.

"Alabama and Georgia are up there," he said. "Everybody heard the story about Alabama. With Georgia, their coaches keep up with me real well."

'The story' about Alabama stems from the fact that the school sent him 105 recruiting letters. In one day.

The memorable recruiting strategy certainly left a mark in the running back's mind even if he held the Crimson Tide in high esteem beforehand.

"It was wild, they just fell out of my mailbox and I wasn't even expecting it," Kamara said. "My mom went wild. She was like, 'Can they do that?'"

Kamara doesn't have any unofficial visits planned and isn't counting on going to any junior days in the next few weeks either. In many ways, he's just going with the flow of the recruiting process that he's seen pick up very quickly. Wisconsin and Oklahoma State might be close to adding to his total of offers and while he will add them to his growing pile, Kamara is evaluating all of them based on what he's looking for in a program before making a commitment.

"Just a school that feels like home, coaches that I get along with and somewhere I can just feel like I belong," he said. "I want to fit in. I'm going to make my decision whenever it feels right. I don't have a time frame."

While his timetable for a commitment is still up in the air, Kamara is interested in seeing things outside of his hometown and that means he'll take visits even if he knows where he wants to go.

"I want to get to everywhere I can and see everything," he said. "I don't want to miss anything. Even if I (commit), I definitely will take (official visits)."

Cheek checks in with Cal

Lawrenceville (Ga.) defensive back Trevellous 'Tre' Cheek was one of the standouts from the first day of competition at the NLA Elite 7-on-7. His play between the lines might have had something to do with his good day outside of them after picking up his first offer from California.

"I've always wanted to go to a (school like) Cal," Cheek said. "They're a great school and great at football too. I have family about an hour away."

While it might sound strange for a Georgia corner to be familiar with the Bears and hold them in high regard, there's a reason he is already planning on a visit out West. Cheek has talked with several members of the team already in order to get to know the program better, including McDonough (Ga.) defensive back Avery Sebastian, a 2011 signee from the area. As a result of being the first to offer, Cal has a slight edge at the moment over other schools - including his childhood favorite.

"I grew up a Florida fan since I can remember. I was brought up that way," Cheek said. "Cal beat them (with an offer) though. That first offer is kind of special. Coach (Ashley) Ambrose is a good guy."

The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Cheek attended Kentucky's Junior Day last week and enjoyed the trip to see what the Wildcats had to offer. On his way back home, he stopped by Louisville, where their Junior Day had already ended but the coaching staff waited around for his arrival and to talk to him. Cheek believes both are close to offering and is hearing more from Clemson and Arkansas. He will head to the Tiger's April 14th Junior Day and based on the amount of attention schools are giving him, it figures that won't be the only visit Cheek will take this spring.

"West Virginia is close, coach (Daron) Roberts has been talking to me," Cheek said. "Tennessee (receivers coach Darin Hinshaw) said they'll offer me but he was waiting for Coach (Derek) Dooley to sign off on it and it might take a little time. But I'm looking forward to that one."

Though there were no really big wide receivers at the event, Cheek handled just about everyone with ease on Saturday. He often played press coverage and had no problem turning to run after getting a good jam on the line of scrimmage. His ability to play up close to the offense, Cheek said, is one of the reasons several coaching staffs have been talking to him quite a bit.

"Just about everybody is talking to me as a corner," he said. "Most of the coaches I spoke with said that I've very physical and they haven't seen cornerbacks like that. They think that since I'm a very physical corner, they can teach the coverage part. They can teach that, they can't teach the (physicality)."

With an offer from Cal in his back pocket and plenty more sure to come, Cheek's recruitment should be one to follow on the road to Signing Day. At the moment, he has no issues leaving the state to play college football and is looking more at the school than its location.

"Oh no," he said with a big smile and laugh. "As long as I'm getting an education. I want to major in physical therapy and minor in broadcasting or communication."

Posted on: February 18, 2012 11:52 am
 

2/18 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Alabama is all set for their second Junior Day with a ton of top prospects.

Alvin Kamara received 105 letters from the Crimson Tide on the same day while Reuben Foster is trying hard to recruit top player Robert Nkemdiche to Tuscaloosa.

Recruiting local linemen could be a recipe for success at Notre Dame.

Michigan State is offering several recruits around the country and going after a few Wisconsin players hard.

 Missouri is starting the 2013 class off by getting a few early in-state players.

 Will news of the drug bust at TCU hurt the Horned Frogs recruiting? Some coaches say no.

 There are some familiar names among the recruits at Nebraska's Junior Days. 

 A preview of Florida's Junior Day.

 Catching up with new Ohio State commit Eli Woodard.

 Boise State lands its second 2013 pledge in Alec Dhaenens.

Posted on: January 1, 2012 12:13 pm
 

Rising Seniors Bowl news and notes

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ATLANTA -- It was a jam-packed week in the Peach state as top juniors from every corner of Georgia took place in the second annual AT&T Junior Bowl presented by Rising Seniors. A loaded West squad ended up taking home the win Friday night at Grady Stadium but the East made things very interesting and had a chance to win it before falling 27-20.

Stats

- The East was able to move the chains much more successfully than the West, picking up 18 first downs over the course of the game. Though both squads featured plenty of Division I players on defense, the East squad was the better offense, finishing with 363 yards compared to the West's 241. Had it not been for three blocked punts and the resulting good filed position, it's safe to say the there would be a different winner.

- The two offenses were almost complete opposites. The West struggled to pass the ball (105 yards) but ran the ball effectively (165 yards on the ground, taking out sacks). On the flip side, the East couldn't run at all (24 yards net) but was able to throw the ball for 339 yards and average almost six yards an attempt.

- The West ran just 55 plays compared to 80 for their opponent. Time of possession was nearly even.

- Each team missed an extra point and West kicker Harrison Butker missed a 30 yard field goal.

- Quarterback Joshua Dobbs was the offense for the East squad. He led them in rushing with 40 yards, including a nice 25 yard run to pick up a first down and move the offense into scoring position. He also finished 20-of-31 for 227 yards and three touchdowns and wasn't sacked.

- Other quarterbacks included Eddie Printz going 12-of-22 for 92 yards for the East and Parker McLeod going 5-of-9 for 71 yards.

- West running back Tyren Jones led his team in rushing and receiving, racking up 116 all-purpose yards for the game. Alvin Kamara had 113 for the East.

- The leading tackler was Cortez Leonard with 10 and he also had the game's only interception.

- Georgia commit Tray Matthews had a 93-yard kick off return and led everybody in all-purpose yardage.

- Quarterback Cole Segraves and linebacker Reuben Foster both left with an injury.

Top performers

Defensive tackle Montravius Adams (Vienna, Ga.)

There weren't too many standouts along both lines but Adams certainly made an impact on defense and special teams. He's got great size and is a square block of mass that fires off low and overwhelmed some of the interior linemen at times. He has an early offer from Clemson but is hearing plenty from schools like Alabama, Florida State and others. Adams plays in a small classification so he answered some questions about going up against good talent this week and is a DT to keep an eye out for.

Wide receiver Carlos Burse (Alpharetta, Ga.)

Burse had the benefit of knowing the quarterback for the East team and that paid off with several big catches. He's got a great wide receiver frame and has long arms with big hands that caught just about everything thrown his way. He went over the middle without hesitation and was a solid route runner. Burse also showed a bit of burst after the catch.

Quarterback Joshua Dobbs (Alpharetta, Ga.)

In terms of under-the-radar players who rose to the occasion and played well, Dobbs is tops on the list. He looked comfortable in the pocket despite pressure and was savvy in knowing when to take off and run and when to stay and throw a strike. The thing about him that really impressed was his touch on passes and the fact that he always threw a catchable ball. Well spoken and smart, Dobbs has all the things you look for in a signal-caller.

Linebacker Reuben Foster (LaGrange, Ga.)

Foster was no doubt the headliner of the event with Robert Nkemdiche out and he impressed at the linebacker position. If you heard a big hit, you didn't even have to look up to know who delivered it and was almost too aggressive and hungry at times. He wasn't tested much in terms of coverage skills but has a bright future ahead as a downhill player. He should be a great fit in Alabama's 3-4 scheme as an inside linebacker. He left with a concussion early on so was limited during the game but the affable Foster solidified his status as a top 2013 player.

Running back Tyren Jones (Marietta, Ga.)

There wasn't too much separation amongst the running backs but Jones showed speed and burst that will serve him well at the next level. He's not the biggest player so don't expect him to get 30 carries a game but in the right system, he can be very productive. As a wing back or slot receiver, he can do damage in the passing game as well.

Athlete Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga.)

Another under-the-radar player who had a good week and game was Kamara. The thing that caused everybody's head to turn when he got the ball was his speed, which simply allowed him to run by defenders as he hit sixth gear. Kamara also displayed a good set of hands and adjusted to his role as a slot receiver well. He's listed as a running back but after his performance, and based on his size, he could wind up catching more passes at the next level than he thinks.

Safety Tray Matthews (Newnan, Ga.)

Though he's known mostly for defense, Matthews really shined on special teams, returning a kick for a touchdown and showing a few moves returning punts as well. He's got great speed that allows him the freedom to roam a little bit more as a safety but also is big enough that it wouldn't be surprising if he ended up growing into an outside linebacker eventually. He's good friends with Foster and the two were the stars of the week.

Posted on: December 31, 2011 12:31 am
 

West wins Rising Seniors Bowl in 2013 showcase

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ATLANTA -- The top juniors in the state of Georgia became friends all during the week but as soon as they donned the gray and blue uniforms and took to the field at Grady Stadium, just about everybody flipped a switch and turned into competitors.

Though there was a slight talent disparity in favor of the West squad, the East almost pulled off the upset but couldn't convert a blocked punt into points with under a minute left and fell 27-20 in the 2011 edition of the AT&T Georgia Junior Bowl.

The West roster featured plenty of Division I talent and was heavily favored by practice observers with players such as LaGrange (Ga.) linebacker and Alabama commitment Reuben Foster and Newnan (Ga.) and Georgia commit Tray Matthews. The team struggled on offense all night outside of a few big plays but managed to keep the lead thanks to special teams and defense. Foster didn't play as big of a role as many imagined, leaving with a concussion early in the game after making a tackle for a loss and hitting his head.

The two teams took several drives to get their feet under them in fact, before Alpharetta (Ga.) quarterback Joshua Dobbs was inserted for the East squad. He moved the offense efficiently, kept his eyes downfield and easily finished with the best passing numbers in the game, connecting on 20-of-31 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns.

"It was a great game and I had the opportunity to compete against the best talent around Georgia," Dobbs said. "My goal was just to come out here and prove myself, listen to the great speakers and enjoy the entire experience."

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound signal-caller holds just a scholarship offer from Princeton but is hearing from schools such as Duke, Vanderbilt and Stanford. With a good frame and the ability to take off and run (he led the East in rushing with 40 yards), Dobbs could be the latest under the radar recruit to emerge from the Rising Seniors game.

"There was a lot of good talent on the other side of the football," he said. "It always feels good to be successful in any game you play though."

Several all-purpose threats made a big impact for each side and provided some electrifying plays during the few times anybody was in the open field. Marietta (Ga.) running back Tyren Jones was the leading rusher and receiver for the West squad with 116 all-purpose yards and played a major role in his team's victory.

"We came in pretty cocky, we were figuring we were kind of stacked," said Jones. "We knew we were going to come together as a team and pull through with a win.

Jones already has offers from Duke, Georgia and Vanderbilt and could pick up a few more in the coming months after attending several Junior Days throughout the South. He scored go-ahead touchdown late in 4th quarter on a 44 yard run up the middle that showcased his pull-away speed.

Norcross (Ga.) athlete Alvin Kamara also flashed plenty of speed Friday night and should be in line for several more offers beyond the single one he holds from Syracuse.

"They lined me up in the slot so I just tried to come out here and play it as best that I could," Kamara said. "I really found out this week that I'm pretty versatile. I can play running back, catch, run the ball, do it all.

"I feel like I'm a little underrated so playing on (ESPN3.com) helped increase my stock a little bit hopefully."

Kamara appeared to be the fastest player on the field at times and impressed even his opponents with his quickness and ability to turn the corner. He's currently hearing from Georgia Tech and Maryland and could be close to picking up another offer in the next few weeks.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Vienna (Ga.) defensive tackle Montravious Adams had his name called all night among the players in the trenches. He racked up two tackles, a sack, forced a fumble and blocked a punt. It was a standout performance for a player from one of the smaller schools in the state.

"It was a lot harder than from where I'm from," Adams said. "Where I'm from, they're not that big and they're not that strong. If they play like that in college and I play like I did, I'll be a hall of famer."

Adams already holds a Clemson offer and feels Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Florida State are close.

Special teams was the biggest reason why the West was able to win the game. The squad had three blocked punts - one for a touchdown - and had the field position advantage most of the night. Matthews blocked an extra point on the East's final touchdown of the night and played well roaming the secondary at safety. His biggest impact however, was on a 2nd quarter kickoff return that he took 93-yards for a score.

"I was just hoping I'd find a little crease," Matthews said. "I stuttered stepped a little bit. Then I found that hole and burst through it and show everybody my speed. Hit the hole and score the touchdown."

Georgia's class of 2012 is just a few months from signing letter of intents an is among the deepest classes in recent memory. Based on the Rising Juniors game however, the class of 2013 should have no problem stating their case to be just a little bit better.
 
 
 
 
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