Future spur Camara has 'just scratched surface'

dmclemore@thestate.comDecember 14, 2012 

Mohamed Camara

GOGAMECOCKS

Forsyth County, Ga., is often known for its wealth. For West Forsyth High coach Frank Hepler, that wealth comes in the form of diamonds.

As in, diamonds in the rough.

Hepler believes South Carolina got just that in Mohamed Camara, a linebacker for the West Forsyth Wolverines in Cumming, Ga.

"I think he's going to get to college and be a great player," Hepler said, "but he's the type of kid that might not be on everybody's list around the country."

Camara, considered a three-star prospect by 247Sports, ESPN and Rivals, was a standout player at West Forsyth. In 12 games as a senior, he had 82 tackles, seven sacks and three interceptions, including one for a touchdown. He added three pass breakups, two forced fumbles and 12 quarterback hurries.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder committed to South Carolina on April 27, about two weeks after attending the Gamecocks' spring game. USC is recruiting him for the spur position, a hybrid safety-linebacker role.

Hepler sent out Camara's highlights video to schools along the East Coast. South Carolina was quick to show interest and would become his first offer through recruiter G.A. Mangus, the school's quarterbacks coach.

"From what I understand, Coach Mangus and other coaches got the highlight tape and immediately said, 'Hey, we've got to take a look at this kid,' " Hepler recalled.

West Forsyth opened in 2007 in Forsyth County, which ranks annually among the wealthiest counties in Georgia. The school is about 40 miles north of Atlanta and outside of the more heavily recruited counties directly around the city.

The school has its share of college coaches come through. A bulletin board outside Hepler's office features photos of each coach during his stop, including Mangus.

Camara also has offers from Southern Miss, Central Florida, East Carolina, Jacksonville State and Western Kentucky. Almost all SEC schools, including Alabama and Arkansas, have shown interest, his coach said.

On this day, Camara is sporting a rarely seen double-Gamecock look: a Jacksonville State shirt and a South Carolina hat. His heart and future are on the hat, he said.

"The coaches and the players, as soon as I got there I built a good relationship," he said. "Academically, they have what I am looking for. My parents loved it. They felt really comfortable there."

Known as "Mo" at West Forsyth, he played linebacker, running back and sometimes wide receiver. (He scored seven rushing touchdowns as a senior.) His versatility makes him a good fit for the spur position, his coach said.

"He's got multiple talents, with what the spur does playing as a safety, linebacker and almost lineman-type position. All three Mohamed can do that," Hepler said. "I think he brings the athleticism to that position. You'll see him sack the quarterback a bunch. You'll see him drop in coverage and get some picks. He can play just about any type of offense."

At South Carolina's spring game in April, Camara paid close attention to the spur's responsibilities. He praised how Antonio Allen performed there last season and how senior DeVonte Holloman played at spur in 2012.

"You really need to know everything about the defense to be able to play that position. I have a lot of respect for those guys," he said. "It's a position you can go make a lot of plays at. I'm definitely excited to be playing there."

Camara is strong and physical on the field, Hepler said, and honest and humble of it. He also has "a handshake that can break a lot of people's hands." And he's not one to drag out the recruiting process, which is why he committed early, the coach said.

South Carolina sees potential in Camara, his coach said.

"He wants to play football. He wants to do good in school," Hepler said. "He's got a lot of football ahead of him. He's just scratched the surface. South Carolina got a good one."

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