High School Sports

Red Devil offensive lineman Cameron Fraser has followed unconventional road to a college football scholarship

Central High offensive lineman Cameron Fraser was committed to the University of South Florida for nearly seven months.

During that time, he knew that it would be a good fit. But when former coach Skip Holtz was shown the door, along with a handful of other factors, Fraser reopened his recruitment.

Enter: Louisville.

In just two months, the Cardinals began scouting Fraser, offered the 6-foot-5 lineman a scholarship and ultimately won him over with the environment, player interaction and coaching.

Now, more than ever before, Fraser is confident he's found a good home.

"If I wasn't positive this was right for me, I wouldn't have committed," Fraser said just days after he made his commitment official last Monday.

Fraser will sign a scholarship with the Cardinals Wednesday on national signing day.

Despite his confidence, the process was certainly a long one. Fraser said that, while it was a great experience, it was, and still is, stressful.

"It was a lot of fun, but it was really crazy, too," Fraser said. "It's really stressful. It's a good and a bad. I'm very happy to have it over with. When you decide, it changes your life. It's hard to know if you're making the right decision."

Asked if he was happy to have the process over with, he was quick to answer.

"Very happy," he said.

Fraser's road to a college scholarship is an interesting one.

He's not a player who has spent a lifetime in football, going from Pop Warner to high school star over the span of 10 years. Instead, he didn't begin playing until his sophomore season with the Red Devils. He was a basketball player first and foremost, he said.

But when the football coaches got a hold of him, they didn't let him go.

"We're used to kids in the South starting young and growing in the game over the years," offensive line coach Matt Bell said back in August. "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."

Fraser did more than give it a chance. He started putting time in on the practice field and in camps. By his senior season, he was the anchor of a talented unit. For the 2012 season, he graded out at 84 percent on blocking and was a member of the All Bi-City and Alabama All-Star teams.

"It's crazy," Fraser said. "I never would have thought that I'd be here right now. It's just a blessing."

Fraser, who figures to be a left tackle on his new team, will get started in Louisville on June 6, right after he gets out of high school. He'll take a week or two off to get acclimated, then he'll be into the program.

He'll have summer classes and plenty of strength and conditioning that will prepare him for play in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Fraser's biggest asset as a player is his raw ability. Coaches at the high school and college levels recognize that right away. He has great size and can get even bigger.

Central coach Woodrow Lowe said that it is that upside that makes him such a strong asset for Louisville.

"He has tremendous upside," Lowe said. "The sky is the limit for Cameron. He's a very athletic guy, very outgoing. He's a good learner. It's just all going to be up to him now, and I think he'll be ok."

What is up to him is improving strength and technique. Fraser named those two areas as the keys to his success at the next level.

"Strength," he said when asked to pinpoint an area he needs work in. "Definitely strength. That's the biggest thing at the next level. And technique. You're never perfect. You always have to be working."

If he can do that, he'll have a great shot at excelling at the next level, Lowe said. He has plenty of potential to play either on the outside or inside of the line, and he can be a starter even amongst such talented players.

"He has some maturing to do, and this is where it starts," Lowe said. "I think we gave him a good foundation. Now, it's all up to him."