New Orleans Saints running back and former Vol Alvin Kamara won the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year at the NFL Honors in Minneapolis on Saturday.
Kamara played for Tennessee for two seasons (2015, 2016) after transferring from Hutchinson Community College. He led the Vols in all-purpose yards in 2016 despite battling a knee injury.
In a press conference after the award presentation, Kamara expressed disappointment in the way Tennessee's coaches utilized him in the offense, a sentiment shared by many Vols fans.
"Being in college, I didn't really get the amount of touches I felt I needed to have the productivity that I knew I could have," Kamara said. "Coming into New Orleans and being able to get into an offense that catered to me, it was great. I had the opportunity to get the ball a lot and the productivity just went up and up."
The Atlanta native was drafted in the third round by New Orleans and led the NFL in yards per carry as a rookie in 2017. He was the top receiving back in the league in terms of yardage and his 1,901 all-purpose yards ranked third in the NFL.
Kamara averaged 12.6 touches per game with the Saints, a slight increase from the 11.8 touches he averaged in 24 games at Tennessee. The big difference was an increase in his use in the passing game. Kamara averaged 5.1 receptions per game for New Orleans compared to 3.1 with the Vols.
"I don't know what happened but it was one of those situations where I wish that I would have gotten the carries but when I did get carries it was like I don't know if I'm getting two or ten so whatever I get I gotta make the most of them," Kamara said.
Kamara scored 14 total touchdowns in his first NFL season, including a 106-yard kick return score, reached the Pro Bowl and was voted the Pepsi Rookie of the Year by fans.