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May 20, 2011Jupiter, Fla. quarterback prospect Tyler Cameron might not have known a ton of specifics about Michigan State when the Spartans became the 11th school to offer him a scholarship, earlier this spring.
But area recruiter Mark Staten had a handy little primer for him.
"The coaches all carry around these iPads nowadays," Camerson said. "It's kind of cool. On the iPads they have the highlights of their games and everything, and Michigan State just looks like an amazing atmosphere during the games. I want to get a feel for that and check that out."
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Cameron became one of only a handful of quarterbacks to receive spring scholarship offers from Michigan State. He also has offers from Boston College, Illinois, North Carolina State, Louisville, Purdue, Rutgers and others. Wednesday, he received offer No. 12, from Central Florida.
With spring football practice and scrimmages being part of the high school sports season in Florida, the May evaluation period is more constructive and revealing in the Sunshine State than in most others. Staten has been to Jupiter High to watch Cameron at least twice this spring.
"I heard that they (Michigan State) were going to be coming by and I was happy to see him when he got here," Cameron said. "I got letters from Michigan State, and I got a chance to meet Coach Staten earlier in the spring. And from then on he told me that he had interest in me and that we would be talking. From then on, he came and watched me practice and I guess he really liked it."
Cameron engineered a spread-and-sling style of offense a year ago, which often featured his running ability. He completed 52-of-99 passes for 820 yards, with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He rushed for 478 rushing yards. He missed the last three games of the season with an incomplete tear of his labrum (cartilage in his throwing shoulder).
"It was an incomplete tear of labrum, so it wasn't too bad," he said. "I'm 100 percent now."
His stats and junior film might not dazzle. But his school is changing to more of a pro style, pocket passing style of attack, and Cameron has looked excellent in that capacity this spring. He also impressed at the Athens Elite 11 in mid-April, making him an intriguing stock-on-the-rise prospect. Rivals.com including him on the national Top 250 watch list.
"I'm getting used to being under center because all last year and the year before I was in gun," he said. "Freshman year, I was playing in the winged T. We are running a pro offense now and everything is under center, so I've got to get used to dropping back and looking through my linemen and get a feel for that.
Cameron and Jupiter High have staged 15 practices this spring, in preparation for a three-team jamboree against Olympic Heights and Martin County on May 26.
"We're getting the offense tightened up this spring and everything is looking pretty good," Cameron said.
Cameron is a left-handed gamer, with quick-footed cutting ability in the backfield and open field.
"Coach Staten said he likes that I'm a big guy, I can throw the ball, and I escape and move well with my feet," Cameron said. "I was very excited about the Michigan State offer. That's a big-time school right there. I think it would be a great place to go check out and maybe it would be my home for the next four or five years."
Cameron has not started to map out which schools and camps he will visit in the summer.
"Once spring is over, I will do my research, look at some schools, look at their quarterback situation and narrow it down to where I would fit in, and then narrow it down and go on some visits this summer, check places out, and then narrow it down again," Cameron said. "I won't know which schools I'm going to visit until I narrow it down after looking at the offers. Then I'll go to those camps, meet those coaches, go workout with them to get a feel for how those coaches are."
The attention and scholarship interest "is a dream come true," Cameron said. "It's what I've been working for and waiting for since I was a freshman. I saw coaches coming in all time when I was younger. We had the No. 1 kicker in the country (Auburn's Cody Parkey) and we had great running backs when I was younger and I was always like, 'Oh man, I can't wait to get to the point when coaches are going to come to meet me.' And it's finally here, so it's been awesome."
Interesting from Big Ten schools such as Michigan State, Purdue and Illinois surprised Cameron a bit.
"I didn't expect Big Ten, but it's awesome," he said. "That's big-time football right there."
Marshall was the first school to offer, prior to his junior year. South Florida was the first major conference school to offer. "Then Rutgers, Lousville, Boston College followed them pretty quickly," he said.
Who is recruiting him the hardest?
"I would say USF is up there, Michigan State is up there, Purdue is up there," he said. "Illinois has been recruiting me pretty hard and Duke, and UCF has been on me too."
The Rest, From Jupiter High
Jupiter High athlete James Davis and wide out Charlie Giles are receiving interest from Memphis, Central Florida and other mid-majors.
"Davis is a stud," Cameron said. "He is about 6-foot and plays wide out for us, and will probably be a safety or corner in college.
"Charlie is about 6-1 and plays slot for us and some cornerback."
But keep the name of freshman Mar'Keith Dokes in the back of your mind for the future.
"He is the biggest star out of all of them," Cameron said. "He's about 5-10, 165 now, and growing. He is one of our best players. He ran a 4.40 in the 40. He just brings a different gear to our team. He is just blazing fast. I have a feeling he could be the best player in the county by his junior year. He is going to be something special."