Staff Photo: Jason Braverman
Norcross' Alvin Kamara puts an Alabama hat on as he officially announces that he'll sign a letter of intent to play football at the University of Alabama during a ceremony at the school on Wednesday.
NORCROSS — Alvin Kamara didn't get to enjoy the recruiting process during the football season.
The Norcross running back delayed taking official visits so he could focus on helping his team win a state championship.
On Wednesday, he was finally in the recruiting spotlight. In front of a packed theatre at Norcross High School, Kamara announced his decision to attend the University of Alabama live on ESPN.
"I always said I'll go where I'm most comfortable and Alabama is where I was most comfortable, so I went ahead and pulled the trigger," Kamara said.
Despite countless calls and texts from college coaches asking Kamara visit their campus during the fall, he turned them all down. It wasn't an easy decision for a teenager to deal with all the hype.
"It's a great experience. It's something people dream about and when it happens, it's crazy," Kamara said. "I would just thank God for this experience because it's been a humbling experience. You make of it what you want to and I've tried to make it the best."
Head coach Keith Maloof, who introduced Kamara prior to his announcement on ESPN, couldn't have been prouder of his all-state running back.
"He's done a great job throughout the year and this is why I'm letting him do all this stuff," Maloof said. "If he didn't handle himself throughout the year, we would have made a decision and moved on. He handled his decision from being a high profile athlete and telling all the people around him I want to win a state champion and then I'll worry about the recruiting side and he held up his side of the bargain."
The 5-foot-10, 192-pound Kamara is rated the No. 1 running back in Georgia and No. 4 in the country. He chose BCS national champion Alabama over Georgia.
"It wasn't anything that Georgia did wrong," Kamara said. "I just didn't feel as comfortable as I did in Tuscaloosa."
Kamara took visits to Alabama and Georgia on consecutive weekends in January. But it was after that trip to Athens that he knew where he wanted to play college football.
"After I took the official to Georgia, it really cemented in my head that I wanted to be at Alabama," Kamara said. "I was going in with an open mind in Athens, just giving Georgia a chance and seeing how I felt. I already knew how comfortable I was in Tuscaloosa. In Athens, I felt kind of out of my element and I didn't feel as comfortable with the players and coaches as I did in Tuscaloosa."
In the end, Kamara just couldn't turn down the chance to play for the premier college football program in the country.
"They are a great team. Three of the last four national championships. I just hope to fit in with them," Kamara said. "I feel comfortable there. Hopefully, I can get on the field and ball out and do what I have to do."
Kamara was the Daily Post's Co-Offensive Player of the Year after rushing for a school-record 2,264 yards and 26 touchdowns. He helped the Blue Devils capture the Class AAAAAA state championship, the first in school history.
"I had something I wanted to do and that's win a state championship," Kamara said. "It's easier said than done. I said it, but I was toying with taking visits during the season."
Kamara never did visit any schools and just kept a low recruiting profile. Now he's ready to have the recruiting process over and just focus on football.
"It's really a relief," he said. "I'm ready to just play football and get done with the recruiting stuff. I signed the papers, I'm done.