New Orleans Saints

Former Volunteer Alvin Kamara named Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year

Former Tennessee and current New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara was honored as the 2017 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year Friday.

Kamara, a 2018 Pro Bowl selection, led all rookies with 14 total touchdowns and ranked second with 1,554 scrimmage yards. He joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers (1965) as the only rookies in NFL history to have at least five rushing touchdowns, five receiving touchdowns and a kickoff-return touchdown. Kamara led all rookies with 81 receptions, the third-most by a rookie running back in NFL history.

Alvin Kamara was one of five finalists nominated to receive this honor.

The other finalists were Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette and New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore.

The five finalists were selected for their outstanding performances throughout the 2017 NFL season.

Each week, five nominees were chosen for the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week and fans voted for the winner on NFL.com. Those results were used to help determine the finalists.

This is Pepsi’s 16th year as the official soft drink sponsor of the NFL and the 15th year that Pepsi will present the NFL Rookie of the Week and NFL Rookie of the Year awards.

Alving Kamara’s college career began at Alabama in 2013 where he would redshirt as a freshman. Injuries and off-field trouble led him to transfer for one season to Hutchinson Community College.

He came to prominence at Tennessee running for almost 600 yards and scoring nine total touchdowns in his second season as a junior in 2016 before leaving school early for the NFL Draft.

Kamara played behind Jalen Hurd much of his career on Rocky Top and this award will give more ammunition to the critics of Butch Jones who felt Kamara deserved more playing time at UT. Kamara’s draft stock began to explode after Hurd left the team and Kamara was given more touches; he also excelled at the NFL Combine and in personal workouts with NFL teams.

The Saints selected Kamara in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft, number 67 overall.

RELATED: Tennessee’s best “diamond in the rough” recruits in the last decade.

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