High-SchoolFootball: Tray Matthews
April, 30, 2012
By Brandon Parker | ESPN.com
Despite rushing for 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns last season, Alvin Kamara understands if he's overlooked at times. In fact, the Norcross (Ga.) junior tailback says it's a given, considering the top two players in the ESPN 150 -- Robert Nkemdiche and Reuben Foster -- also starred in Georgia last year. But that doesn't stop Kamara from believing he's the best.
That's why his goals entering the Atlanta NFTC on April 20 were simple -- win the MVP for his position and earn an invite to The Opening. Kamara did just that, using his power and rushing skills to achieve both his goals and stand out among some of the region's best players.
BCS football programs are plenty familiar with Kamara, who once received more than 100 recruiting letters in one day from Alabama. And come this fall, the 5-foot-10, 190-pound rusher is confident that the entire nation will also get familiar with this emerging star.
ESPNHS: What was clicking for you that allowed you to win the running back MVP at the Atlanta NFTC?
Kamara: The way I prepared prior to the NFTC really helped. We do workouts every morning at Norcross -- the same type of stuff we did at the NFTC, like bag work and running cuts and drills, so it was almost like another workout and I was probably better prepared than most. Also, my confidence and the way I approach things helped. I feel like I'm the best. And that's in no type of cocky manner. I just go out to be the best in everything that I do and I think that's what separated me.
ESPNHS: What was your favorite part and what was the hardest part of the camp?
Kamara: My favorite part was the one-on-ones with the linebackers. That's what everybody was waiting for, being able to run plays and routes because either you were going to get the ball or get embarrassed. The hardest part was probably the blocking drills. You didn't really know what to expect at first. I wasn't really ready the first time and the guy went right past me. So I had to refocus and get serious after that so no one else would get by me.
ESPNHS: How big is it in your development as a player to get an invite to The Opening?
Kamara: It feels great. I mean, those are the top 150 prospects in the nation, so to get invited to be a part of that is great. And I feel like with my performance at the NFTC, I definitely earned it.
ESPNHS: You're ranked number 79 in the ESPN 150 among a lot of other Georgia players. How do you feel about where you're ranked?
Kamara: I kind of just busted onto the scene whereas guys like Reuben (Foster) and (Robert) Nkemdiche have been on the map, so I understand and I'm not mad about it. But I'm going to work hard so I can move on up toward the top with some of those guys.
ESPNHS: Last year, you had a star receiver in Jason Croom who got a lot of attention from defenses. Now that's he graduated, all eyes will be on you. How do you plan on adjusting to the extra attention while still being effective?
Kamara: I saw Jason deal with it last year with all the attention he had on him, and he handled it real well. That's what I plan to do -- just stay humble and lead my team the best way I can so we can win.
ESPNHS: What is your biggest strength and what's something you want to improve upon?
Kamara: I'll start with what I want to improve on -- my lateral movement. I'm more of a straight ahead, speed and power guy, so I need to work on the lateral part of my game. I'd say my strength is my vision and speed as a runner.
ESPNHS: Your recruitment has received a lot of attention recently, from the 100 letters from Alabama to you saying that you, Foster and Tray Matthews plan on going to the same college. Where does your recruitment stand right now?
Kamara: My recruitment is still wide open. I'm just enjoying the process, going through it and talking to the schools that are looking at me. I'm trying to learn everything I can learn about each school. As far as me, Reuben and Tray, that's something we want to do and we've flirted with the issue a little. I know they are committed to different schools right now, but if it comes down to us wanting to play together, it will happen. But we'll see.
School: Norcross (Ga.)
Position: Running back
Movie: "The Blind Side"
Car: Black Dodge Challenger
Athlete: Tiger Woods ("I've seen some interviews and videos of him and the way he talks about being the best and saying nobody can beat him, I like that.")
Team: Green Bay Packers
Subject: Language Arts
Brandon Parker covers high school sports for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at email@example.com.