Former ACA Star Set to Face Hometown Team
When he was starring at Tuscaloosa's American Christian Academy, Georgia recruited Kamaari Lassiter much harder than did Alabama. Now, the starting junior corner for the Bulldogs is set to face the team he grew up cheering for, as he did as a 2021 freshman.
Here's a check on what Lassiter said on Monday's Student Athlete Conference Call through the SEC:
KAMARI LASSITER: "I think it's a great opportunity ahead of us. This is something that we always look forward to, being able to play in the SEC Championship. The guys are fired up and ready to attack it."
Q. I wonder if you can just speak to how special it is and how intertwined you are with Alabama given your time playing here at ACA and obviously being from Georgia, spending time in Tuscaloosa and now to be playing Alabama in the SEC Championship?
KAMARI LASSITER: "I would definitely say everything has come full circle. Like you said, I actually spent about three and a half to four years right in Tuscaloosa being able to play football there and going to school at ACA. Just being able to play an SEC Championship against a really good team like Alabama, it's really just a blessing."
Q. Could you speak to the magnitude of this game and what it means to compete in the SEC Championship and also maybe how this conference kind of going through all the tough games that you have to to even get here kind of prepares you for this moment.
KAMARI LASSITER: "Being able to play in this game, it's a huge honor in my opinion. SEC is one of the best conferences in the country, so just being able to play in the championship of one of the best conferences in the country is a testament to both teams, how hard they work, how hard both teams have put in the effort and the training to be able to make it here. So it's a great opportunity and a huge blessing."
Q. What are the difficulties and challenges of playing a dual-threat quarterback with such speed like Jalen Milroe?
KAMARI LASSITER: "He's a very good quarterback. He manages the offense very well. He's able to read coverages and do things very well, and with him being a dual threat, he has the ability to extend plays, and that allows his guys to do extra things to get open, so just being able to try to prevent that, that'll be a great challenge for us."
Q. Sticking with Jalen, have you studied -- in studying Milroe, have you faced a quarterback that has similar traits to him with his ability to throw it the way he does and how fast he is running?
KAMARI LASSITER: "I would say he's definitely more of a different guy. We haven't really faced anyone to his caliber like that this season, so he's definitely more of a different guy in the things he's able to do and the way that he's able to play.
I would definitely say that he's definitely different from all the other quarterbacks that we've faced."
Q. When you study his tape and you see him in the open field and just how fast he is, how much of a challenge will that be just to try to limit those type of situations?
KAMARI LASSITER: "It'll definitely be a challenge because it's very hard to account for the quarterback running, so that's just something that we definitely have to work on and account for as a defense."
Q. I know you live in the moment and you live game-to-game, you're just looking at -- do you have any kind of appreciation for where you guys are, this program, what it's done over the last three years in particular? This winning streak is kind of getting into rare territory. There's only a handful of schools that have won 29, possibly 30 games in a row. Do you ever take a moment to appreciate that at all and what it means to kind of be included in some of the group of the great programs of all time?
KAMARI LASSITER: "That's a good question. I definitely do just take some time to definitely just try and sit back and appreciate it. It's hard to sometimes just take a second and just slow down when games are coming at you so fast with practices and all the media and everything flying around, but sometimes just being able to sit down and think for myself personally over the last few years that I've been able to be a part of a really good program and a program that's taught me a lot of things, not just about football but about life. I've been around some really good guys, some guys that have gone to the league, some guys that are still with me. But just being able to be a part of this and even somewhat have an impact on some of these teams is really truly just a blessing and something that I'm very grateful for."
Q. I'm just wondering, you had a couple of close calls, especially earlier in the year, Auburn, South Carolina. Did at any point during those games, did it hit you like we can't let this be the one? We can't break the streak with this? Or you're just trying to win that game and you're not ever thinking about the other things?
KAMARI LASSITER: "Here it's never been about a streak or anything like that. It's always just been about being in the moment, just trying to win that moment. That's something that we try and pride ourselves on is just trying to be the best version of ourselves in that moment, trying to win every moment, and we believe that if we're able to win each moment that good things will happen for us."
Q. I'm sure you know that Alabama is the only team that has beaten you guys since you've been at Georgia and they're obviously the last team to beat you. What do you remember about that game two years ago, and what did you not do in that one that you've been able to do so many other times?
KAMARI LASSITER: "That game was a while ago. I was a freshman that year. I wasn't playing very much. But from what I do remember, they were just able to basically come in and basically just won the game from what I remember. It wasn't anything that we didn't do wrong or that they did perfectly. They just put their better foot forward that game."
Q. I'm sure at some point Saturday you saw Alabama's game-winning play against Auburn, Jalen's pass. I wonder what went through your mind on that, and what went through your mind as a defensive back when that play was made?
KAMARI LASSITER: "That was a very good play on the offensive part. The quarterback was able to have a lot of time and be able to dissect what coverage they were in, and they were seriously able to -- they were definitely able to be able to have time to get open and scramble around. It was just a very good throw and catch at the end of the game in a very tight ballgame, and it was the play that they needed. They were able to make that happen."
Alabama's First Spring Scrimmage 2022