AJC all-class player of the year: Norcross RB Kamara ‘played at a level that not many can play’

Alvin Kamara was a 2,000-yard rusher and one of the 10 most heavily recruited running backs in the country this year, but if there was a moment that defined his senior season at Norcross, it was a catch.

It came with less than five minutes to play in the Class AAAAAA championship game. Norcross trailed Lovejoy 14-9.

Kamara would rush for 141 yards that day in the Georgia Dome – his 11th straight game over 100.  But facing a third-and-14 from the Norcross 39-yard line, Kamara was lined up as an inside receiver in what was a make-or-break situation.

Kamara ran an out route, cut back across the middle and caught quarterback Joseph Wilber’s pass in stride down the left sideline for the touchdown, 69 yards. Norcross suddenly led a game that looked lost. The 21-14 victory gave Norcross its first state title in 56 years of varsity football.

‘’The tougher the game, the better he played,’’ Norcross coach Keith Maloof said of Kamara. “It showed more in the playoffs than in the regular season. When he needed to, he played at a level that not many can play.’’

Kamara is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s all-classification player of the year.

A blue-chip recruit for a year now, Kamara is expected to choose between Alabama or Georgia in the coming weeks, but his stock rose as a senior as he rushed for 2,264 yards and scored 31 touchdowns. That’s the most rushing yardage for a player on a state championship team in the highest classification since Brookwood’s Paul Freeman ran for 2,326 in 1996.

It was Kamara’s ability to make big plays – running, receiving or passing – against perhaps the toughest schedule in the state that separated him in Georgia this season. Norcross went 15-0 in the highest class, beating eight teams that would rank in the final top 10. No opponent came closer than seven points.

In the playoffs, Kamara averaged 172.6 yards rushing in Norcross’ five victories. Throw in his receiving totals and Kamara averaged nearly 208 yards from scrimmage.

That doesn’t count two critical passes, one a 30-yard touchdown throw in the 34-20 victory over Camden County in the quarterfinals, the other a 35-yarder in the championship game that set up Norcross’ first touchdown.

‘’I think he’s the best football player in the state of Georgia,’’ said Colquitt County coach Rush Propst, whose team lost to Norcross 41-27 in the semifinals. “I know some others got the preseason accolades, but I think Kamara did more for his football team than anybody.’’

Propst said that Kamara was the best player that one of his teams had faced since he came to Georgia in 2008. Colquitt teams have seen state players of the year Robert Nkemdiche of Grayson, Hutson Mason of Lassiter and Greg Reid of Lowndes.

“If I were on the next level recruiting a kid, he’d be the No. 1 back that I’d go after,’’ Propst said. “He can run inside the box with physicality and run outside with speed, and he has the ability to make you miss. And the other thing that sets him above the rest is that he can catch the football. He can beat you as a receiver.’’

That he proved.

‘’Time after time, Alvin rose to the occasion,’’ Maloof said. “What he did was not just bring his level of play, but he brought everybody’s up. He’s basically the one who led us to a state championship.’’

59 comments Add your comment

scotty81

December 28th, 2012
8:43 am

Rolling with the Tide

dawgwild

December 28th, 2012
8:43 am

1st… Congrats young man.

Paddy

December 28th, 2012
8:44 am

Keep ‘em coming, CMR. What a class if you sign this player!

DawgDays

December 28th, 2012
8:46 am

UGA can’t lose him to Bama, just can’t…

David C

December 28th, 2012
8:56 am

50% Chance he ends up at Bama… They have been recruiting him longer. Think Georgia waited till this story to come out before offer a Scholarship. They are usually late to the party when it comes to offering Scholarships to elite players in there own state.

EW

December 28th, 2012
8:59 am

Congrats to Norcross and Alvin…best quote was after the championship win when he said he wanted this more for Coach Maloof than for himself. Class act and UGA or Bama will get a great young man.

ramsey knight '96

December 28th, 2012
9:25 am

who are we? DEVILS
the mighty, mighty DEVILS
the blue & white DEVILS
the outta sight DEVILS
& when we win DEVILS
we win again DEVILS
but if we lose DEVILS
we keep our cool DEVILS
Norcross DEVILS, Norcross DEVILS!

Nicholas S.

December 28th, 2012
9:25 am

He will end up at Alabama because he is not good enough to get playing time over Gurshell.

Destin Dawg

December 28th, 2012
9:28 am

Alvin come to UGA… be a home State hero… kids that stay in State .. close to support groups… friends and family.. do better in School and life after sports… Go Dawgs… beat Nebraska !!

Destin Dawg

December 28th, 2012
9:29 am

Saban leaving for the Pros after the Bowl game… he’s already lining up a staff.

Vampire Bill

December 28th, 2012
9:29 am

Just as fierce competition at bama with Lacy and Yeldon. Hope he stays home with UGA. Go dawgs

Uncle Tom

December 28th, 2012
9:30 am

Bamer had better hope they get him. Like all the other vultures, they’d be mediocre if they didn’t get players from Georgia! Go DAWGS.

old Dawg

December 28th, 2012
9:32 am

UGA has a great class coming in….. need Alvin and Tunsil to top it off !!!

GTBOB

December 28th, 2012
9:37 am

If he is smart ..he would go to Tech and not those other loser teams!

BUCKEYE

December 28th, 2012
9:54 am

Come to Ohio State! Big Ten is the best football on the planet.

John

December 28th, 2012
10:04 am

Good player but I really don’t see how you can pick him over Deshaun Watson of Gainesville. Nobody has ever played quarterback better in this state and I’ve seen the best in the state for years.

Craig Bolton

December 28th, 2012
10:08 am

Congrats! Please come to Big Orange country and become a star your freshman year! Go Vols!

JK

December 28th, 2012
10:19 am

In order for this class to be strong UGA needs 4 of the last 5 top recruits that are being targeted. Too much focus was put on quantity and early enrollies rather than recruiting the top talent in the state. We will see…

tide roll

December 28th, 2012
10:36 am

ALVIN, LOOK: BAMA just picked up OT LEON BROWN 6′6″ 315 lbs out of Brooklyn AND OT BRANDON HILL 6′6″ 350lbs from Hargreave. Hill, in fact, will enroll in January. He’ll join redshirt Freshmen OT BRANDON GREEN 6′5″310 out of Atlanta, and 6′5″340 lb. OT ALPHONSE TAYLOR out of Mobile. They’ll join Sophomores ARIE (6′5″ 320 lbs), and Cyrus (6′6″ 315 lbs.) KOUANDIO to help open some running lanes for you. In the meantime, at UGA, Bobo’s raving about some kid named Pyke from a scholastic school in Maryland called Boys Latin. They one upped this guiy by signing a 6′4″ 270lb. kid fromm some schooll in Valdosta called Valwood!! Which group would you rather run behind? Don’t give in to local pressure or signing with your “Friends” who are committed to UGA. It’s a mistake. I just listed your new friends at BAMA. Talk to Coach Maloof about it. If UGA is going to sign this caliber of offensive linemen, then they don’t deserve to sign you.

TJ4pres

December 28th, 2012
10:42 am

UGA waits so late and hurts them. They waited with Denzel Nkemdiche and lost him to Ole Miss. Now little brother Robert Nkemdiche is not looking at UGA because of it. Kamara will probably go to Alabama because they offered earlier. UGA needs to step it up on recruiting. Let’s hope enough fans can sway him to stay in GA.

Jimmy Crack

December 28th, 2012
10:49 am

ALVIN, As the previous comment states, Bama is REBUILDING their offensive line FROM SCRATCH as they prepare for their entire present O line to leave for the NFL. That leaves you with INEXPERIENCED linemen who will make mistakes throughout their early college careers.

OR would you rather have a COMPLETE OFFENSIVE LINE that has already played together and will only get better in the next 3 years? Come to UGA, Alvin, and stay HOME.

midtown

December 28th, 2012
11:02 am

Uncle tom
What state did Georgia get their QB and Two freshmen RB from?

bamafan

December 28th, 2012
11:17 am

Jimmy Crack: Bama was “rebuilding” their defense this year. And looks like that worked out pretty well. Bama doesn’t rebuild, they reload. Wait until you see “whos up next” on the OL next year.

Jimmy Crack

December 28th, 2012
11:27 am

bamafan, defenses don’t have to play in concert like O linemen do. All you need is a few upper classmen to calm the others down. Offensive lines have so much more to think about in terms of schemes and timing. You are right though, about your defense. Pretty damn impressive after all the guys you lost to the NFL. Congrats and go kick some Irish arse.

GimmeAbreak

December 28th, 2012
11:50 am

Why do the truly dumb-ass (David C I’m talking to you) people come heer to remove any doubt that they don’t have a clue?

Katie

December 28th, 2012
11:58 am

GimmeAbreak – I think you just answered your own question…”people come heer.”

beerad

December 28th, 2012
12:08 pm

This is not related to this fine accomplishment. Congrats I watched the game and what a game it was. However the question I have is how can a player be named offensive player of the year in his classification and not make the first team at his position?

Brown Dog

December 28th, 2012
12:08 pm

He can’t go wrong at either place.

Paul Brown

December 28th, 2012
12:19 pm

Bammers quit waisting your breath, done deal Saban to Browns, is Kirby going too?

David C

December 28th, 2012
12:34 pm

GimmeAbreak – Truth hurts doesn’t it?? Georgia was late on offering Dillion Lee (Who’s Brother plays for Georgia) and he decided to honor his commitment to Bama. He wanted to play for Georgia, but they dragged on offering him. Kid had great Senior Year and didn’t recieve an offer from Georgia Till November. That is some of the Dumb Things that Georgia Coaching staff has done they keep Georgia from being the best team in the SEC. Dillion is going to be a great LB in College.

David C

December 28th, 2012
12:36 pm

All the Georgia Fans are going to be Sad when Saban doesn’t leave for the NFL this year. Just means the Dynasty continues, while Georgia continues that 10-2, 9-3 Capital One Bowl Trip every Year.

real

December 28th, 2012
3:27 pm

The no brainer of the year should have been Deshaun Watson as POY. Kamara had Autry as help at RB, while Watson shattered records and led Gainesville to state title. I don’t think any other player in the nation besides Watson could have propelled Elephants to this title. If anyone had seen Watson all season, there’s no way they would have selected another player for POY,
Baffling choice!

Neutral

December 28th, 2012
4:27 pm

@tide roll

AND there is an excellant chance UGa will sign the #1 OT, #2 OC and #6 OG (to go along with the #1 or #2 OT last year. Alvin has a much better chance of getting a lot of playing time at UGa because of the TB talent on board. Both colleges have 2 great proven running backs, but Bama already has 2 (top 10 TB) in this year’s class…..to UGa’s none. :)

EW

December 28th, 2012
4:38 pm

real…did you not read the article on who NHS beat this year…try again…

Carly

December 28th, 2012
4:58 pm

Nahh………..Go to North Ave Trade School and flunk out first semester!!!

UGAly

December 28th, 2012
7:20 pm

Alabama currently has 10 running backs on their roster and only 1 of them is a senior. Saban will tell a kid anything to get them to commit there.

Al Fresco

December 28th, 2012
10:32 pm

“Saban will tell a kid anything to get them to commit there.”
—————
And this is different from every other coach, how? Of course, you do get to play for (and win) championships at Alabama, which is something.

Jeff

December 29th, 2012
12:36 am

Everyone has ignored the most ignorant comment. Buckeye said “Big Ten is the best football on the planet”…WHAT? How many times have the Buckeyes lost to SEC schools in the national championship game?
As for Bama recruiting….I’m just going to sit back and wait for someone to blow the whistle on those scammers. Bama fans will be happy to have 15 national championships but I’ll give NCAA 3 more years to find some MAJOR recruiting violations and ole Saban will be running for cover. Enjoy your titles while you can Bammer Jammers

Rev Al

December 29th, 2012
4:33 am

How was Watson at Gainesville NOT Player of the Year?? He is the ALL time passing leader in the state, leads his team to a state title in the second largest classification, has 4,000 yards passing, 1,400+yards RUSHING, 50 TD passes, only 8 interceptions…..and he isn’t POY?? This one makes NO sense….

Steelerfan

December 29th, 2012
6:20 am

Isn’t Tyren Jones from Walton going to Bama also?

Also a Steeler Fan

December 29th, 2012
7:37 am

Congratulations to Alvin; he was fun to watch this year. Maloof is a good guy, and I am also happy for him and his family. Wherever Kamara ends up, I wish him the best that college football has to offer.

role tied

December 29th, 2012
7:49 am

Delusional. UAT has a few years of good ball and they all think they’re god’s gift to the football world. Even though they’re only 4 or 5 years removed from the days of losing to Northern Illinois and Louisiana Monroe they think they have some mythical 100 year dynasty. Football is as cyclical as the weather and bammers are delusional morons, red necks, hillbillies and trailer trash who live pathetic little lives whose only accomplishment is a big swishy A affixed off center to the back window of a truck with four different brands of worn out tires. Your days are numbered, bammers.

My dad is a tv repairman. I can fix it.

December 29th, 2012
1:15 pm

Watson got hosed. Taking nothing away from Kamara, he is unreal. But, there were at least 10 rbs with over or close to 2000 yds.

Watson broke 3 huge state records as a junior while winning the AAAAA state title with a running clock against “one of the states best defenses”. Even ware co fans were blogging about watsons incredible combination of skill and poise.

Had watson been a senior he would have won hands down. But the fact he is only a junior makes his accomplishments all the more worthy of POY. Watson was ahead of kamara going into title games. Both had outstanding games, what did watson do to lose it? Also kamara plays with autry, a POY candidate also. That should be a factor against kamara.

The Truth

December 29th, 2012
3:20 pm

Todd – I knew you would do it…the obvious…the easy choice…the most popular choice for your readers…pick the Atlanta (Norcross) kid over Watson. What is the criteria for POY? The most valuable player, the best player, the player with the best stats? Watson had a better season than anybody, no matter what the criteria is. And lets certainly take Propst’s word for it. I guess he is the only qualified coach in the state to validate your selection. Oh well, I can take comfort knowing the Georgia Sports Writers did the right thing. Do us all a favor, and don’t even nominate Watson next year. If he didn’t earn it this year, then what can he possibly do to earn it next year?

Mr. SEC

December 29th, 2012
4:44 pm

I agree with The Truth!! It isn’t much more that Watson can do next year to win the award. Kamara is a talented player, but there were many running backs that put up similar numbers than he did. Kamara finished the year at #4 in rushing yards. Watson had over 4,000 passing yards, 50 passing TD’s, 305 pass comp with 435 pass att., 8 int, Rush, 227 car for 1,441 rushing yards with 27 rushing TD’s

Undefeated

December 29th, 2012
5:42 pm

I’ll tell ALL of you one thing Watson didn’t do……..Lead his team to a 15-0 season. He’s an unbelievable player but how do you let your team lose to Loganville, Flowery Branch and West Forsyth.

Kamara led his team to a 15-0 season by defeating 7 of the top 10 teams a total of 8 times. Everyone knows that AAAAAA football is the biggest and best the state has to offer year in and year out.

SugarHillDawg

December 29th, 2012
6:01 pm

Hey Buckeye, you’re a comedian aren’t you?

chilidawg

December 29th, 2012
6:51 pm

I’m sure their logic was, “Watson’s just a junior. He’ll win it next year, so let’s give it to the best senior.” Congratulaions to Kamara, and good luck with your college decision.

Tushar

December 29th, 2012
10:33 pm

I dont think he can run on the SEC’s best defenses. Look at Keith Marshall. 2 snaps against Alabama. Kamara Needs to put some muscle on fast. If he does then he will be able to. Gurley who was a lower recruit has dominated at UGA. Go UGA. I hope we get Tunsil, Adams, Foster, and of Course Kamara would still be good for the depth chart.

Mr. SEC

December 30th, 2012
1:16 am

Undefeated… You make a good point, but look at the Heisman award in college football. Manti Teo Led his team to an undefeated regular season and lost to Johny Manziel. Kamara is a good kid and deserved the award though.