How much time is on the play clock?” “Is everybody set, are they blitzing?” “Who’s the hot route?” All of these things run through the mind of the quarterback before yelling the word hike.
This year Florida A&M University former starting quarterback, Albert Chester II, who can be seen on FAMU commercials and game cards decided that it would be in his best interest to leave the team. His decision surprised Rattler fans and opened the door for another senior.
At 5 foot 6 inches tall and a buffet away from 175 pounds, Leon Camel handed the reigns. Camel played quarterback at Glades Central High School along side a slew of future college stars most notable Santonio Holmes of the Pittsburg Steelers. Unlike his counterparts Camel didn’t have a list of colleges knocking at his door to play football.
“My mom said she would pay for me to only go to school in-state and I didn’t want to go to Bethune. One of my brothers went to FAMU but the rest of family went to Morris Brown.” Camel explained.
Camel is the youngest of seven brothers and one sister. All of his brothers were football players with all playing quarterback except for one.
“I just really wanted to go to school,” Camel said. “So I decided to come to FAMU and study in Business Education with no thoughts of playing football my freshman year. I walked on my second and third year.”
Not everybody who plays collegiate football is a scholarship player. Some may go the entire college career and never earn a scholarship.
“When you see Leon the first thing you think is he’s an undersized player. You also think how can a player of that size be able to help your football team to win,” said Rubin Carter FAMU football’s head coach. “All those thoughts went out the window when I seen his performance and his passion for the game also his leadership ability,” Carter explained.
Camel was delighted at Carter’s admiration for him.
“When coach told me that he was gone put on scholarship I had a big smile on my face,” Camel said. “I called my mom to let her know. She was surprised and she didn’t believe me until like the fifth time of me telling her then she believed me.”
Camel is a team player on and off the field according to his co-workers at Clippers. Like football, Camel had to tryout for a position at the barbershop.
“When he first came in and did his demo, he took a minute on that cut. He was sort of nervous,” said John Solomon, a barber at Clippers. “We can’t have a weak link in here, if you not tight, you can’t cut because it reflects on everyone who works here.”
Two weeks passed before Camel finally received a phone call acknowledging that he had got the job. When it comes to being a replacement, Camel was already used to the role before the season even started.
“He was really an alternate. We had another guy that didn’t really work out so we had to replace him. And Leon end up being the guy. He came to work on time. Never turned down a cut, he was straight.” Dedrick Stewart explained.
It may be safe to say that when some people are thrust into the limelight they tend to change. But with “Chief Black Shoe,” which is Camel’s nickname at the shop. Both Solomon and Stewart confer that he is one of the most humble guys they’ve met.
“He certainly is. He hasn’t let all this bother him as for ego and all the other things.” Coach Carter said. “He’s taking it on whole heartedly and understands that what ever he does in the ball game dictates what we’re going to do as a football team.”
Carter called Camel “A warrior, competitor and all the superlatives you can use as it relates to having a compassion for the game. And wanting to go out and do whatever it takes to help us win.”
Camel who plans on being an educator said, ” I’m going to instill in my students never to give on anything. Because what may start off as a bad situation can end up being a blessing in the end.”