February 20, 2011

Kimbrow enjoying process, plans to see UT

Memphis running back Brian Kimbrow knows how to change a game. He knows how to leave those in attendance in both shock and disbelief. He is the ultimate game-changer and he'll be hitting a college campus in the fall of 2012.

Before that takes place he'll have one more year at the prep level and during that year he'll endure phone call after phone call from college coaching staffs and recruiting services.

"I'm up to 25 offers now," said the all-purpose back from Memphis East who most recently nabbed offers from Colorado and Vanderbilt. "I just feel blessed to have this opportunity. Not every player gets to see and do what I'm going to have the chance to do and I realize that I have to take advantage of this chance."

One team that has put on the full-court press for Kimbrow is his home state Tennessee Volunteers. They are making it clear that he is not only wanted, but needed in orange and white.

"I hear from them every day," Kimbrow said. "Hardly a day goes by without getting mail from them. I'm going to their junior day later this month and that will be a great chance to learn more about Tennessee."

Southern Cal, Alabama, Auburn, and Kimbrow's favorite team from his childhood, Miami, join the Vols in the mix. His trip to Knoxville next weekend will be one of fun and growth.

"It's going to give me the chance to build relationships with the players and coaches,"Kimbrow said. "Tennessee has a good tradition and they are always fighting to be the best. Their program is on the rise and coach (Derek) Dooley is a good guy, He pushes his players for perfection and I like that."

Kimbrow doesn't plan on ending the process early. He indicated that he'll likely take his recruitment all the way to National Signing Day next February. That's just under a year for college football's elite programs to showcase what they have to offer. He knows what he's looking for.

"I want a program with leadership," Kimbrow said. "A place that has good coaching and a place that knows how to win. I think all of those things are important."

Despite already having multiple bags full of recruiting letters from colleges across the country, Kimbrow is enjoying the process and taking everything in stride.

"It's enjoyable for me," Kimbrow said. "It's a new experience and I like new things."

One new experience for Kimbrow came last month at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl combine for juniors. Kimbrow wowed scouts en route to being named to Rivals.com's all-combine team. Since then, his recruitment has soared.

"A lot more. I mean, I went in there, I had a lot of intentions, and I did good, made my chances a lot better. I wanted to show that I really am as good as people say I am," Kimbrow explained. "That I'm not just a track guy. I'm a football player who runs track. That's what I'm trying to get people to understand.

"Yes, sir. It's a lot my mindset (to demonstrate his toughness). I just continue to work hard and do what my coaches ask me to. Just go perform every weekend and good things will happen."

Kimbrow stands just 5-foot-9 and weighs 175 pounds. He has the ability to make anyone miss and can take any play the distance. Last year he dashed through opposing defenses for 1,651 yards and 18 touchdowns. Three times opponents kicked off to Kimbrow; twice he took those kickoffs to the end zone.

And on the third one?

"I ran it back to their 20. The kicker caught me by a shoestring," said Kimbrow, who made clear he didn't expect any kickers would get him to the ground this year. "It was more like I made one guy miss, and as I was going into my second gear he just barely got me."

Despite those gaudy statistics, Kimbrow feels like he's more than just a big-play guy.

"I think my playmaking ability stands out," Kimbrow said. "I also bring leadership and I give it 100 percent on every play. I don't take plays off and I think that rubs off on my teammates. I see the hole and I hit it as hard as I can. Once I get to the second level then there is no catching me."

Kimbrow and his Memphis East teammates struggled through a 4-6 season last fall. They were a young team and he feels like they can make plenty of strides by August.

"We are working hard," Kimbrow said. "I'm going to lead my team and I think we can be real good. We were young last year and this year we have experience. I can't wait till spring practice and then to get our chance next year."

Vol fans can't wait either. Like Kimbrow's play, his recruitment is sure to be a thrill a minute.

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