Cameron Baker would rather not do this.
No, it’s not football he wants to avoid. “There’s a lot of things about football to love,” he said. He beams when talking about starting football as a seven-year-old, skipping the flag variety and jumping right into full contact.
It’s not practice he wants to skip. Ask Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson head coach Brant Anderson about it and he’ll tell you that it’s hard to distinguish Baker in practice from Baker on Friday night. “I don’t know that I coached anybody that had the full package, that had his size combined with athleticism, and then also had his work ethic and his attitude toward the game,” Anderson said.
It’s not two-a-days or weight lifting or conditioning or anything to do with playing the game. It’s this, right here. Talking to a reporter about himself is what he’d pass on if given the choice.
He’s not rude by any stretch of the imagination. He answers, “Yes, sir,” more often than he doesn’t. He smiles, speaks cordially and frankly. And in those moments of frank honesty, that’s when it comes out.
“I’m not going to lie, I’m not a big talker,” Baker said. “So, doing all this talking kind of gets frustrating for me sometimes.”
Anderson knows it well, too. “That’s just not who he is. It’s not his personality,” he said. “He just goes out there and does his job, minds his own business, and gets things done.”
Somewhat to his chagrin, Baker has been doing plenty of talking recently. It’s not only been reporters filing stories. The collegiate scouts and coaches have been after him, too. Baker is currently listed as one of the top ten prospects for 2019 in the state of Iowa. There are about 4,832 reasons why (his career rushing total with one game left in his senior season). Or maybe it’s 140.5 reasons (his career total tackles).
His numbers from 2017 alone were silly. 1,852 yards rushing. 20 touchdowns. 9.4 yards per carry. 40 solo tackles. And don’t forget that one interception he snagged. He took it 40 yards to the house.
Of course he did. All that while suffering through a partially torn labrum.
Baker started for TJ as a 14-year-old freshman. His first year was Anderson’s first year at the helm for the Yellowjackets.
“The year prior to that, his eighth grade year, I was an assistant here,” Anderson said. “He was up in the weight room in the mornings working out with all the varsity guys. I remember the coaches that were there at the time and had been around were saying that he could probably play for us this year as an eighth grader.”
So, yeah. It’s always been this way. It’s not a surprise that Baker is in the position he’s in now. He’s been heading this way for years. “Even his freshman year, he was the guy we had to get the ball into his hands,” Anderson said.
Baker has racked up offers to go along with some gaudy career numbers. Iowa, Indiana, North Dakota State, Central Michigan, and Northern Iowa have all offered the running back and linebacker a scholarship. Anderson said, initially, Baker projected as a hybrid, H-back type. But more recently, schools have been looking at his defensive play, particularly at inside linebacker.
Baker is unsure about where he wants to go to school. Keeping the options open, is how he puts it. There’s a reason for that.
“Growing up around these schools, everybody is a big Iowa fan. So when they see that I have an Iowa offer, they all want me to go there,” Baker said. “But I would like to keep Nebraska in there because that’s the team I always grew up watching.”
Had an amazing time at Nebraska’s junior day today! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/NTNcXtiJz8
— BigBakes (@cameronbaker_89) March 31, 2018
At the end of our chat, Baker smiles, says thank you, and offers a handshake. He trots back onto the field, joining the individual defensive drills. He’s so polite and welcoming, so fresh and honest that it’s hard to believe that Cameron Baker would rather not do this.
Watch Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson vs Council Bluffs Lincoln Football on Friday, 10/19 at 7pm streaming live on YurView.com.