Always a Bulldog: Franklin County lineman signs with Mississippi State following late phone call

Published 12:44 am Sunday, February 25, 2018

On the morning of Feb. 7, Franklin County High School’s Cameron Young had his National Letter of Intent to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College signed and sealed, but it was a good thing he hadn’t delivered it quite yet.

Young had made a decision and thought the next two years of his future were set.  That was until his phone rang. It was Brian Baker — the defensive line coach at Mississippi State University.

“It was 30 minutes — maybe 45 minutes later. I was really confused,” Young said. “The first thing he asked me was ‘Do you want to be a Bulldog?’”

Email newsletter signup

The answer? Yes — though the question should have been whether or not Young wanted to continue as a Bulldog.

Young shined as lineman for the Franklin County Bulldogs, and after less than an hour as a MGCCC Bulldog, he never changed mascots after his final choice to be a Mississippi State Bulldog.

But no matter the team, at 6-foot-3, 310 pounds, Young stood out.

“He’s just a big talented kid,” FCHS football coach Trey Woodard said. “You can certainly see on the field that he’s a smart kid, too. His intelligence seeps over.”

Ending his senior year with 61 tackles, including 11 sacks, Young stood out long before Baker gave him the call that changed his life.

“In ninth grade, I had a few coaches come to my practices,” he said. “My first offer came from Jackson State (University) in 10th grade.”

The recognition didn’t stop there. Offers continued to pour in, especially after Young attended his first two recruiting camps as a junior — one the well-known Nike Football’s The Opening.

Purdue University, the University of Memphis, the University of Southern Mississippi, the University of Louisiana-Lafayette — they all wanted Young.

Mississippi State came into the picture last July when he went for an unofficial visit. Throughout his final high school campaign, Young said he never lost touch with the staff.

“I talked to Coach Baker at least once a week,” he said. “He would tell me what he wanted to see from me on film and how I could get better.”

The weekend before National Signing Day, Young went for an official visit to Starkville. Since former MSU head coach Dan Mullen left for the University of Florida last November, Young wasn’t sure if he would be offered.

“They told me if a spot opened up, I would get it. But, they said I would just have to wait and see,” Young said.

And so he waited, but the time had finally come to make a decision.

“I was really interested in (Louisiana-) Lafayette. But, they had a coaching change, too, so picked to go (junior college.) I had chosen Gulf Coast, and that was it,” Young said.

“During the process, I was — I don’t even know — stressed.”

Though many athletes might jump on the opportunity of a Division I offer, Woodard said Young stayed true to his character, thinking out the very special phone call like his life depended on it.

Per college athletics rules, an athlete is allowed to sign to a school in the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as a school in the National Collegiate Athletic Association without sanction.

“He’s a really thoughtful kid,” Woodard said. “It really threw him for a loop. He really thought about it. He’s not one to be spur of the moment. He thought through the negatives and positives.”

Now that his future is truly set, Young said he is relieved.

“It feels good, really good,” he said. “The opportunity to play in the SEC, it’s crazy. Hard work really pays off.”
And just like always, Woodard said he hasn’t stopped standing out.

“You just walk around and look up and say ‘Oh, there’s Cameron,’” he said. “But he doesn’t just stand out because he’s big. He stands out because he has done what he has supposed to.

“I’m super proud of him. He earned it.”