Central-Phenix City football: Cameron Fraser focused on continuing meteoric improvement

Special to the Ledger-EnquirerAugust 14, 2012 

In 10th grade, all Cameron Fraser wanted to do was play basketball.

He was 6-2, a shade over 200 pounds and good enough to put up respectable numbers on the hardwood.

After joining the football team as a sophomore, however, Fraser, now a senior, transformed himself into a bona fide force on the Red Devils offensive line.

With just two seasons of football under his belt, Fraser has grown to 6-foot-6 and bulked up to 280 pounds, leading to 15 scholarship offers with, presumably, more to come.

"In a way, it is (overwhelming)," Fraser said of his quick rise in football. "But this comes with what we do. We want to be the best."

Becoming the best, however, hasn't been easy for Fraser, who is committed to play offensive line at the University of South Florida.

When he first started playing, he didn't have the size or the understanding of the game to find as much success.

He messed up. Coaches yelled. He wanted to quit.

"It's been growing pains," offensive line coach Matt Bell said. "We're used to kids in the South starting young and growing in the game over the years. Getting Cameron in the 10th grade, he wasn't very good. He had some spells where he just wanted to play basketball. But I told him to give football a chance."

And he did. After attending a couple of camps in the summer before his junior season, Fraser decided to give the game a chance.

He started lifting weights more and working outside of practice. He bulked up, and his technique improved.

All of that, Bell said, came from an improved work ethic and a commitment to doing what it took to succeed.

"That's one thing that's probably been the best about Cameron here," Bell said. "His work ethic has really picked up. He didn't like the weight room as a sophomore or, really, as a junior. But he's really come on and picked up a lot of strength this year. I think he sees that the more he puts into the game, the more it's going to reward him."

The idea of a stronger, more polished Fraser is an exciting prospect to his coaches. For someone that has already been impressive enough to garner a slew of scholarship offers in just two years on the field, the sky could be the limit if he continues on the current trajectory.

But he hasn't reached his peak yet, Bell said. In fact, he's not close. There are plenty of things the coaches and Fraser himself would like to improve over the course of his senior season at Central.

"Strength," Fraser said in reference to what he wants to improve. "I think if I could get my strength up, I could be a low four-star, or maybe five-star recruit."

Bell said he'd like to see his drive continue to grow.

"He's a real laid back kid," he said. "One thing we had trouble with early on was that he felt like if he did well, great, but if he didn't, so be it. It's not like that with him lately.

"As a 15- or 16-year-old, it's hard to see that scholarship offers don't happen to every kid. But Coach (Woodrow) Lowe has been good for Cameron. He knows what it takes, and he demands a lot."

Fraser's still committed to South Florida, but he said he'll keep his options open. If he got an offer from the right school, he'd be willing to change his mind.

And given his growth over just two years, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him do well enough to make that happen as a senior.

"Don't get me wrong, he's still learning," Bell said. "But he's a football player. He's very skilled. We're just scratching the surface."

David Mitchell, 706-571-8571

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