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Alvin Mentian Kamara (born July 25, 1995) is an American football running back for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Tennessee and was drafted by the Saints in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Alvin Kamara
No. 41 – New Orleans Saints
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born: (1995-07-25) July 25, 1995 (age 23)
Norcross, Georgia
Height:5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight:215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school:Norcross (Norcross, Georgia)
College:Tennessee
NFL Draft:2017 / Round: 3 / Pick: 67
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2018
Rushing yards:1,611
Rushing average:5.1
Receptions:162
Receiving yards:1,535
Return yards:555
Total touchdowns:32
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Contents

Early yearsEdit

Kamara was born to a Liberian mother.[1][2] He attended Norcross High School in Norcross, Georgia.[3] He played high school football for the Blue Devils football team. As a junior in 2011, he rushed for 1,300 yards with 17 touchdowns. As a senior in 2012, he rushed for 2,264 yards with 26 touchdowns, and he had 22 receptions for 286 yards and five touchdowns and led his high school to its first state championship.[4] As a result of his successful high school career, Kamara earned Georgia Mr. Football honors from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, named Class 6A Player of the Year, and earned first-team All-State honors from the Georgia Sports Writers Association. In addition to these accolades, Kamara was selected to participate in the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game.[5]

Coming out of high school, Kamara was considered to be one of the top running back prospects in the nation. He was rated the No. 1 all-purpose back in the 247Composite, the No. 5 player in Georgia, and the No. 42 player nationally in 2012. Rivals.com rated Kamara as the No. 6 player in Georgia.[6]

Kamara committed to play college football at the University of Alabama under head coach Nick Saban.[7]

College careerEdit

University of AlabamaEdit

Kamara's short time at University of Alabama was "a rough experience".[8] He had knee surgery during the preseason, then redshirted as a true freshman when he was unable to break into a recruitment class that featured three other future NFL running backs in Derrick Henry, T. J. Yeldon, and Kenyan Drake. Due to "behavioral issues", Saban banned Kamara from practicing with the team and suspended him from their bowl game.[9]

Hutchinson Community CollegeEdit

In 2014, Kamara transferred from Alabama to Hutchinson Community College in Kansas for his redshirt freshman season. In nine games, Kamara ran for 1,211 yards (134.6 per game) with 18 touchdowns, and led the Blue Dragons with 1,469 yards of total offense and 21 touchdowns.[10] His successful season with Blue Dragons propelled Kamara to one of the top JUCO prospects in the nation. He earned a 5-star rating from the Rivals.com and Scout.com recruiting networks. He was offered by both Tennessee and the Georgia Bulldogs before ultimately committing to the Volunteers.[11]

University of TennesseeEdit

2015 seasonEdit

In 2015, Kamara transferred to the University of Tennessee to play under head coach Butch Jones.[12] As a red-shirt sophomore, Kamara played in all 13 games and shared the backfield with Jalen Hurd and John Kelly.[13] He accounted for 144 yards and two touchdowns in his Tennessee debut against Bowling Green at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee on September 5, 2015; his 144 rushing yards set a school record for most rushing yards in a debut game.[14] He became the second Volunteer in history with a rushing touchdown and punt return for touchdown in the same game with a two-yard rushing touchdown and a 50-yard punt return touchdown against Western Carolina.[15] On November 14, against North Texas, he had 15 carries for 127 yards and two touchdowns in the home victory.[16] Tennessee finished with a 9–4 record and qualified for the Outback Bowl against #12 Northwestern.[17] In the 45–6 victory over the Wildcats, he had 53 rushing yards and a touchdown.[18] In the entire 2015 season, he accounted for 698 yards (53.7 yards/game) with seven rushing touchdowns. He averaged 6.5 yards per carry, which was third in the SEC.[19] He was second on team in receptions with 34 for 291 yards and three receiving touchdowns. As a punt returner, he had eight returns for 100 yards (12.5 average) with a touchdown.[20]

2016 seasonEdit

In 2016, Kamara was a key contributor for the Volunteers in his redshirt junior season.[21] The running back personnel was the same as the last season for Kamara. In the 2016 Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol, he had six touches for 34 yards and one touchdown in a win against Virginia Tech.[22] He started his first career game at running back for the Vols in a win against Ohio on September 17.[23] He had 79 all-purpose yards in a 38–28 win against #19 Florida, including six yards on two carries, 12 yards on one reception and career highs of 61 punt-return yards and six punt returns.[24][25] He had 138 all-purpose yards, including a receiving touchdown, in a 34–31 win against #25 Georgia.[26] He had a career-best game the following week in a 45–38 2-OT loss against #8 Texas A&M at Kyle Field. He rushed for 127 yards and two rushing touchdowns, and had eight receptions for 161 yards and a receiving touchdown.[27] In the next game against #1 Alabama, he was limited to eight carries for 21 yards but had the Vols' lone touchdown in the 49–10 defeat.[28] He missed some playing time due to being injured. He returned on November 12 in a win against Kentucky. Against the Wildcats, he had 10 carries for 128 yards and two touchdowns.[29] In the 63–37 victory over Missouri, he had 55 rushing yards and two more rushing touchdowns.[30] In the regular season finale against Vanderbilt, he had three total touchdowns (two rushing and one receiving) and 141 scrimmage yards in the 45–34 defeat.[31] In the final game of his collegiate career, he had seven carries for 31 yards and seven receptions for 46 yards in the victory over #24 Nebraska in the Music City Bowl.[32] He finished third in the SEC in touchdowns for the 2016 season.[33]

Following the conclusion of the 2016 season, Kamara decided to forgo his redshirt senior season and enter the 2017 NFL Draft. In his two seasons as a Volunteer, he started in only eight of 24 games due to sharing the backfield with Jalen Hurd, but he amassed almost 2,000 yards from scrimmage and averaged a touchdown per game.[34]

College statisticsEdit

Year Team G Rushing Receiving
Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD
2015 Tennessee 13 107 698 6.5 7 34 291 8.6 3
2016 Tennessee 11 103 596 5.8 9 40 392 9.8 4
Total 24 210 1,294 6.2 16 74 683 9.2 7

Professional careerEdit

2017 NFL DraftEdit

Kamara completed nearly every drill at the NFL Combine, and posted the highest Wonderlic test score of the participating running backs.[8] He participated at Tennessee's Pro Day, but chose to only run positional routes, the short shuttle, and three-cone drill with 19 other teammates in front of representatives and scouts from every team.[35] He attended five private workouts and visits held by the Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, and Philadelphia Eagles.[36] NFL draft experts and analysts projected him as a second round pick, ranked as either the fourth-best running back (by NFLDraftScout.com, ESPN, and NFL analyst Mike Mayock) in the draft, fifth-best (Bucky Brooks), or seventh-best (by Sports Illustrated).[37][38][39][40]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP Wonderlic
5 ft 9 34 in
(1.77 m)
214 lb
(97 kg)
32 34 in
(0.83 m)
9 14 in
(0.23 m)
4.53 s 1.55 s 2.61 s 4.35 s 7.10 s 39 12 in
(1.00 m)
10 ft 11 in
(3.33 m)
15 reps 24[8]
All values from NFL Combine[41][42]

The New Orleans Saints selected Kamara in the third round (67th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft.[43] He was the fifth running back selected.[44][45]

2017 season: Rookie yearEdit

Kamara split backfield duties with Mark Ingram Jr. through the 2017 season, with fewer carries but more receptions than his teammate. In the September 11 season opener against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football, Kamara debuted with seven rushes for 18 yards, four receptions for 20 yards, and one kickoff return for 26 yards.[46] In Week 2 against the New England Patriots, his role in the passing game expanded with three receptions for 51 yards in the 36–20 loss; he also returned three kickoffs, but would return only one more until Week 16 of the season.[47] Kamara scored his first professional touchdown in Week 3 against the Carolina Panthers.[48] In Week 4, he had 96 yards from scrimmage, including 10 receptions for 71 yards and a 12-yard touchdown catch.[48] This was followed by 10 carries for 75 yards in Week 5, and 107 yards from scrimmage in Week 6 against the Green Bay Packers. After the bye week, Kamara had a touchdown against the Chicago Bears, and then 68 rushing yards including a 3-yard touchdown, along with 84 receiving yards including a 33-yard touchdown in a breakout victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.[49] During a Week 12 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Kamara provided 101 receiving yards and 87 rushing yards including a 74-yard rushing touchdown. He became the first player since Herschel Walker in 1986 to compile 500 rushing and receiving yards in his first 11 career games,[50] and was the first non-quarterback to average over 7.0 yards per carry through 12 weeks since the merger.[51] In Week 13, Kamara rushed for 60 yards and two touchdowns and caught 5 passes for 66 yards,[48] becoming the fourth 600/600 rookie in NFL history,[52] and tying Todd Gurley for the league lead in total touchdowns with 11. On the first drive of the Week 13 match-up with Atlanta, Kamara suffered a concussion and missed the rest of the game.[53] He returned the next week with 44 rushing yards and 45 receiving yards and a touchdown against the Jets.[54] On December 19, 2017, Kamara was named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie alongside Mark Ingram, becoming the first ever pair of running backs from the same team to earn the honors.[55] He was named to the NFL All-Rookie Team.[56] After 32 rushing with 58 receiving yards in a Week 16 win over the Atlanta Falcons in the season finale, Kamara had a 106-yard kick return for a touchdown, 44 rushing yards and another touchdown, and 84 receiving yards.[57]

In 2017, his 728 yards rushing and 826 yards receiving was the first 700/700 season by a Saint, third by an NFL rookie, and 11th 700/800 season by any NFL player.[58] His 728 rushing yards finished third among rookies behind rushing leader Kareem Hunt and Leonard Fournette. His 81 receptions on the season were first among all rookies and second in the league among running backs behind Le'Veon Bell, and his 826 receiving yards finished first among running backs. Kamara and Ingram became the first running back duo in NFL history to each have over 1,500 scrimmage yards in the same season. Among non-quarterbacks with 100+ carries, his 6.07 yards per rush was the most ever by an NFL rookie,[59] any Saints player, and the third most by any NFL player since 1980.[60][61]

In 2017, the Saints finished with an 11–5 record and won the NFC South.[62] In the Wild Card Round against the Carolina Panthers, Kamara had 23 rushing yards, a rushing touchdown, and one reception for 10 yards in the 31–26 victory.[63] In the Divisional Round against the Minnesota Vikings, he had a 14-yard receiving touchdown from Drew Brees in the fourth quarter to put the Saints up 21–20. However, the Saints would lose to the Vikings by a score of 29–24 on the last play of the game.[64] After a spectacular rookie season, Kamara was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.[65] He was ranked #20 by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2018.[66]

2018 seasonEdit

With teammate Mark Ingram Jr. suspended for the first four games of the regular season, Kamara started the 2018 season as the Saints' main running back.[67] In the season opener, a 48–40 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kamara had eight carries for 29 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns to go along with nine receptions for 112 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown.[68] After 99 total yards against the Cleveland Browns in Week 2,[69] Kamara had 66 yards rushing to go with a career-best 124 yards receiving on 15 receptions in Week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons.[70] The following week against the New York Giants, Kamara had career-bests in carries (19), rushing yards (134) and rushing touchdowns (3) along with 47 receiving yards to take the NFL lead in total and rushing touchdowns, yards from scrimmage, and all-purpose yards.[71] With his Week 4 performance, Kamara became the first player in NFL history to have 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in his first 20 games.[72] Ingram returned from suspension for Week 5 against the Washington Redskins and Kamara totaled 39 scrimmage yards in the 43–19 victory.[73][74] In Week 8, against the Minnesota Vikings, he had 76 scrimmage yards to go along with a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown in the 30–20 victory.[75] In a Week 9 45–35 victory over the Los Angeles Rams, Kamara scored three total touchdowns in the first half (two rushing and one receiving).[76] In Week 10, against the Cincinnati Bengals, he had 102 scrimmage yards and two rushing touchdowns in the 51–14 victory.[77] In Week 15, a narrow 12–9 victory over the Carolina Panthers, Kamara had the Saints' lone touchdown on a 16-yard rush.[78] In Week 16, against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he scored two rushing touchdowns in the 31–28 victory. He tied the franchise record for most touchdowns in a single season.[79] Kamara sat out Week 17 with the Saints' having already clinched the #1-seed for the NFC Playoffs.[80] Overall, he finished his second professional season with 883 rushing yards, 14 rushing touchdowns, 81 receptions, 709 receiving yards, and four receiving touchdowns.[81]

In the Divisional Round against the Philadelphia Eagles, Kamara had 71 rushing yards and 35 receiving yards in the 20–14 victory.[82] In the NFC Championship, he had 15 rushing yards in addition to 11 receptions for 96 receiving yards in the 26–23 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Rams.[83]

NFL statisticsEdit

Legend
Led the league
Bold Career high

Regular seasonEdit

Year Team Games Rushing Receiving Returning Fumbles
GP GS Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Ret Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
2017 NO 16 3 120 728 6.1 74T 8 81 826 10.2 40 5 11 347 31.5 106T 1 1 1
2018 NO 15 13 194 883 4.6 49T 14 81 709 8.8 42 4 16 208 13.0 50 0 1 0
Total 31 16 314 1,611 5.1 74 22 162 1,535 9.5 42 9 27 555 20.6 106T 1 2 1

PostseasonEdit

Year Team Games Rushing Receiving Returning Fumbles
GP GS Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Ret Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
2017 NO 2 1 21 66 3.1 10 1 5 72 14.4 23 1 2 50 25.0 30 0 0 0
2018 NO 2 1 24 86 3.6 15 0 15 131 8.7 23 0 6 164 27.3 34 0 0 0
Total 4 2 45 152 3.4 15 1 20 203 10.2 23 1 8 214 26.8 34 0 0 0

NFL recordsEdit

  • First player in NFL history to have 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in his first 20 games

ReferencesEdit

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  58. ^ 700/700 seasons on PFR
  59. ^ Rookies with 6.0+ yards per rush at PFR. Paul Lowe (1960) and Buddy Young (1948) also achieved this feat, but not as NFL players.
  60. ^ To Jamaal Charles (6.38 in 2010) and Barry Sanders (6.13 in 1997)
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  83. ^ "NFC Championship – Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints – January 20th, 2019". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 31, 2019.

External linksEdit