Wednesday, March 12, 2014

the recruit: Jamil Kamara

Name: Jamil Kamara
Position: WR
Hometown: Virginia Beach
School: Bishop Sullivan
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 210

24/7: 95, four stars; #9 ATH, VA #6, US #106
ESPN: 82, four stars; #36 WR, VA #9, East #26, US #263
Rivals: 5.9, four stars; #17 WR, VA #6, US #123
Scout: four stars; #28 WR

Other offers: Florida, Clemson, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Michigan State, West Virginia, Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh, Miami, NC State, Illinois, Boston College, Connecticut, various other non-BCS

We interrupt your previously scheduled programming of Two-Star Theater to put another marquee name on the board.  Andrew Brown and Quin Blanding comprised two of the big three targets for 2014, and the first two made their preference known pretty quickly.  Jamil Kamara, on the other hand, waited until the calendar actually changed before making his commitment.

This is a name that's been on the radar for a very long time.  Rivals has articles going all the way back to March of 2011 when Kamara was a freshman.  His history is not only long, but well-spotlighted - that article list clocks in at 127 separate features that at least mention his name.  24/7 tops that with a whopping 242 (although they include various board posts by their gurus in that count.)  Verbal offers began right around that time and the only reason they ever stopped was because written offers started being allowed eventually.  Suffice it to say: Kamara is one of the most heavily-scouted prospects you'll ever find.  He also played the recruiting game to just about the fullest extent possible.  Kamara camped all over, he took most if not all his official visits, he transferred schools for the sake of visibility and coaching (originally, he played for Princess Anne, one of the bottom-feeders of the 757 public-school circuit), and he joined several other prospects in playing the hat game at the Army All-American game.

It's no surprise, then, that the scouting sites are pretty much in agreement not only about his ability levels but his general traits as well.  No matter where you look, the basic book will be the same: very physical, great hands, good routes, speed OK but not great.  Kamara certainly does have the size; at 6'2", 210, he fits right into the mold of your prototypical big receiver.  His hands are what set him apart, which, let's hope so because a Rivals article on Andre Levrone that just came out today pointed out the following stat: UVA's receivers in 2013 were credited with 118 catches and 82 drops.

Kamara was already going to get a long, hard look against the first defensive unit in fall camp with every opportunity to get to the top of the depth chart, and a redshirt is unlikely except in the case of injury.  If he's showing off sticky fingers in August and everyone else is continuing their rockhanded ways from last season, look out; you'll see a true freshman hit the first string faster than you can say Wali Lundy.

What the receiver mix will look like next year depends a lot on camp performance, simply because the unit played so badly last season.  Not many jobs are safe.  However, the chance certainly exists that the top pairing could be Kamara and Keeon Johnson, the one receiver from last year to actually draw compliments for his play.  If so, that would represent a drastic departure from the beginning of last season when the top two were Darius Jennings and Dominique Terrell - both listed at 5'11", 175.  A little less speed, a lot more size.

Kamara's ceiling, obviously, with this kind of excitement, is a three-year career and early exit to the NFL - but I don't think that's the likely outcome.  That lack of electric speed means he won't dazzle headline writers and be the Next Great Freshman Sensation (and it's probably why the offer list is solid but also unspectacular) and it nips any Sammy Watkins comparisons in the bud.  Instead I'm gonna go ahead and break out the Billy McMullen analogy.  Big guy, not all that fast, sometimes caught from behind, caught everything in sight and won all the jump balls, never dropped anything that I can remember, and was just plain productive.  That's what we have in Kamara if he lives up to his scouting reports.  I could live with that and I suspect we all would.

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