New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara has become one of the most unique offensive weapons in the NFL over the past two years. Though classified as a RB, Kamara’s offensive talents extend to receiving. In both his rookie and sophomore seasons, Kamara has racked up at least 700 yards rushing and 700 yards receiving. So while he has yet to achieve a 1,000 yard rushing season, he has totals of 1,554 and 1,592 yards from scrimmage in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Kamara’s dual threat skills date back to college, but you’d probably be surprised to hear that he somewhat flew under the radar as a collegiate athlete at the University of Tennessee. In fact, Kamara’s road to the NFL wasn’t always clear skies.
Here’s what you need to know.
Kamara Was a Top RB Recruit in High School & Originally Played for the Crimson Tide
Kamara rushed for 2,264 yards and 26 touchdowns as a senior at Norcross High School in Georgia. 247 Sports rated him as the number one all purpose running back in the nation, the number five recruit in Georgia, and currently has him as the 42nd best high school prospect of all time. The high four star prospect committed to the University of Alabama in 2013.
Kamara never saw the field in Tuscaloosa. After having knee surgery before the start of the season, he redshirted as a true freshman. In November 2013, Kamara was kept from the sidelines of Bama’s game against LSU due to “behavioral reasons.” Alabama head coach Nick Saban also suspended Kamara for Bama’s appearance in the 2014 Sugar Bowl, a game the Tide would go on to lose against the Oklahoma Sooners.
Kamara Transferred to Hutchinson Community College in 2014 & Became a Top Recruit Once Again
After his disappointing tenure with the Crimson Tide, Kamara transferred to Hutchinson Community College.
During his lone season in the NJCAA, Kamara appeared in nine games, rushing for 1,253 yards and 18 TDs. His standout season led to another round of high profile recruiting. He was once again one of the top recruits in the country and chose the University of Tennessee over the University of Georgia.
Kamara had Productive Seasons as a Sophomore & Junior at Tennessee
As a sophomore at Tennessee, Kamara rushed for 698 yards on 107 carries and six touchdowns. He also had 291 yards of receiving and three receiving touchdowns. While his numbers weren’t off the charts, he did split time with two other running backs and was not the featured back. For instance, Jalen Hurd carried the ball 277 times for 1,285 yards.
Even as a junior, Kamara only carried the ball 103 times for 596 yards and nine touchdowns. He added 392 yards of receiving and four touchdowns. He received less touches in the backfield than Hurd once again and almost the same number of carries as John Kelly.
Over the course of his two years at Tennessee, Kamara started just eight games. Regardless, he declared for the 2017 NFL Draft. The Saints proved to have a keen eye for emerging talent, as they made Kamara the 67th overall pick near the beginning of the third round.
Now, Kamara is one of the best skill position players in the league.