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February 28, 2012

WEEK IN REVIEW: Kamara high on Crimson Tide

The University of Alabama now has two running backs committed for its 2013 class in Altee Tenpenny and Tyren Jones, but Norcross, Ga., back Alvin Kamara isn't scared off in the least. He's just as interested in Alabama as he was before Tenpenny and Jones came to their decisions.

"That doesn't change anything, honestly," Kamara said. "You can't get better without having some competition."

Kamara said he grew up playing with Jones, and the two are close. He doesn't know Tenpenny well, but he welcomes the idea of playing alongside the pair of running backs.

"It'd be a plus for Alabama having us all pushing each other, making each other better," Kamara said. "When it comes to splitting time, I'm not worried about that."

The 5-foot-10, 190-pound running back out of Norcross High School said there are no leaders in his recruitment, and he is taking his time with his choice. He has received offers from Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Mississippi State, Southern California and Vanderbilt, among others. The offer from USC came this week.

"I'm open to everybody," Kamara said. "It doesn't matter the label, whether it's Big Ten, SEC, Pac-12 or whatever."

Kamara visited UA during Junior Day on Jan. 28 and plans to visit again once spring practice starts. He said Tuscaloosa feels like big-time football, and the atmosphere is hard to beat.

He said the coaches were really laid back, and he liked how they treated him. He was most impressed with running backs coach Burton Burns. Kamara said he liked Burns' character and personality.

"He's laid-back but really serious about his job," Kamara said. "He's helped out guys like Trent Richardson, Mark Ingram and Eddie Lacy, and that's impressive."

Kamara also liked the Crimson Tide's pro-style offense and the fact it was a traditional, NFL-type offense that uses a traditional running back as opposed to a triple-option. He said he could come in and be effective in Alabama's offense.

Kamara said his strengths as a player are his combination of speed and power, as well as his elusiveness. He said he needs to work more on his lateral movement.

"Sometimes I just trust my speed too much," Kamara said. "I try to outrun somebody and use my speed to beat them when I could just make a move that works just as well."

Unlike many other recruits visiting Alabama during the Crimson Tide's two Junior Days, Mobile athlete Jason Smith already had a good feel for the campus. Instead, the 6-1 160-pound athlete was more focused on his meeting with UA coach Nick Saban.

"I've been to the campus plenty of times, so I didn't tour the campus like some of the other recruits," Smith said. "Since I've been there a couple of times, I just really went up to the office to talk to Coach Saban."

During the meeting, Smith got the good news he had been anticipating, as Saban gave him an offer to play at Alabama.

"My heart was beating so fast, I almost broke a sweat in there," Smith said. "When somebody of that profile gives you an offer, it is just so exciting."

The two talked about what position Smith would play at Alabama if he chose to attend. Smith said Saban was open the idea of Smith starting out at any position, including quarterback, which he plays in high school.

"We talked a lot about what position I would like to play," Smith said. "I told him I would like to play quarterback, and he said he doesn't have a problem with that at all."

Saban and Smith also talked about other positions the four-star recruit could fit at if he didn't play quarterback.

"(Saban) said that if I don't start at (quarterback), not to waste all my time at that position when I could be trying a different one," Smith said. "We also talked about wide receiver and (defensive back)."

The two even talked about the possibility of certain packages in which Smith could come in as more of an option threat at quarterback.

"He said I was a versatile quarterback," Smith said. "It depends on where they could use me. They could use me at the Wildcat, as well as maybe the slot receiver position."

Smith said he enjoyed Junior Day and is more comfortable with Alabama every time he visits.

"The more I go up there, the more I get that feeling of being relaxed," Smith said. "I just like the people down there. Everybody is down to earth and cool."

Smith he will take his time in the recruiting process. He is currently considering Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss and UAB and plans to return to UA during the spring for spring practice and A-Day.

John Davidson and Tony Tsoukalas contributed to this report.
Reach Aaron Suttles at Aaron@TideSports.com or at 205-722-0229.



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