NFL Draft Q&A: Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara
Our NFL Draft Q&A series continues with former Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara, who left after his redshirt junior year with the Vols and drew praise from Mike Mayock as a player with "first-round potential." He started his college career at Alabama, redshirting in 2013, then spent a year at junior college before playing the last two at Tennessee.
Kamara finished third on his own team in rushing last season, but has caught 74 passes in the last two years -- consider the monster game he had against Texas A&M, rushing for 127 yards and two scores and catching eight passes for 161 and a third touchdown. He's working out with former University of Miami strength coach Andreu Swasey in Miami and took a few minutes to talk about his draft prep:
Q: How'd you decide to do your draft prep in Miami?
A: "Just down here training, getting ready and having some fun. I'm working with Andreu Swasey. When I was in junior college, my coach turned me on to him. I came down here on spring break last year and loved him, so I hooked up with him for my combine prep. (Former Texas A&M WR) Speedy Noil is down here, some pretty good guys working out here."
Q: What's the most important thing you're trying to improve in the next month before the combine?
A: "Of course, all the drills like the 40 and short shuttles and L drills. Mostly, I'm working on my body, getting stronger, getting bigger. A lot of the questions about me are my size. I'm not a small guy. I'm 215 right now, looking the part."
Q: What did you play at last season?
A: "213, 211, in that range. I'm 5-10. I don't know where I get it from that everybody's like 'He's about 195.' I don't know.
Q: This is a tough question for an SEC guy, but who's the best player you went up against in college?
A: "There's so many. I could be cliche and go with the Alabama guys, but I'm not going to do that. Every week in the SEC, you're going to face a draftable guy. I'm going to go with Jarrad Davis from Florida, the linebacker."
Q: And you've played with your share between Alabama and Tennesee, but as a pro prospect, who's the best you've played with?
A: "That's hard. Super hard. If I throw back to my Alabama days, probably Jonathan Allen. That man was a freak. He was a freak our freshman year. We came in together."
Q: Is there an NFL back you'd most closely compare yourself to, in terms of body type and skill set?
A: "I get that question a lot, and I never know how to answer it. I'm not sure. I see the Devonta Freeman comparison a lot lately, and somebody mentioned Lamar Miller."
Q: How much do you pride yourself on being a strong pass-catching back?
A: "That's a part of my game. Every offensive player wants the ball. Even the linemen want the ball. So having that facet of my game, there were a lot of times with (Josh) Dobbs where there was nothing open downfield and I'm right there, so he could trust me to make the catch and make something happen with the ball."
Q: What other sports have you played besides football?
A: "Nothing really. I wasn't one of those guys that played AAU basketball and ran track. I just played football. I dabbled in basketball in middle school, but I've really always been a football guy. I really wasn't interested in playing any other sports."
Q: What will you tell NFL teams that ask you why things didn't work out at Alabama?
A: "That question has always been there. Even teammates ask about Alabama. I just think personally it was going to be beneficial. Four of the top 10 running backs in my class went to the same school, in me, Derrick Henry, Tyren Jones and Altee Tenpenny. With T.J. Yeldon, Kenyan Drake and Jalston Fowler already there. I was just playing with the number in my head: 'Man, this isn't smart. One of us has to make a move. I guess I'll be the one to make a move.'"
Q: If I'm in Knoxville, what's the best place to eat if you had to make a food recommendation?
A: "Two places. If it's just a Wednesday, middle of the day, I have to go to Mooyah Burger down on Kingston Pike. I'm getting a turkey burger, pepper jack cheese with spicy ranch, fries and a Mooyah shake. It's the perfect meal. The other one's Wasabi, a hibachi steakhouse. I get the steak, shrimp and salmon. Extra rice, no veggies."
Q: Favorite sports team, aside from the ones you've played for?
A: "I'm from Atlanta, so Falcons of course."
Q: Are you liking having them in the Super Bowl?
A: "You can never bet against Tom Brady. But I do like my Falcons in the Super Bowl, because I'm from Atlanta and it wouldn't be right if I didn't at least go for them. I like the Lakers, just because Kobe played there."
Q: How close are you to graduation?
A: "I'm like 26 credits away. Major is communication studies. I plan on getting that done. It's one thing I want to make sure I want to get done."