Posted: 3:39 pm Saturday, January 11th, 2014
By Michael Carvell
One of the state’s most overlooked 2014 prospects is back on recruiting’s free-agent market.
Kameron Uter, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound wide receiver from Pace Academy, officially de-committed from Vanderbilt on Saturday after head coach James Franklin left the Commodores to accept the same position at Penn State. At least three other Vandy recruits also de-committed on Saturday, according to ESPN.
“He’s opened things back up, but still wants to go to Vandy,” Pace Academy coach Chris Slade told the AJC. “It’s just going to have to be the right fit. He’s definitely entertaining phone calls from other colleges right now, though.
“My phone has been ringing off the hook the last 24 hours from coaches who want to know where things stand. Vanderbilt is still at the top of his list. He’s just going to wait and see who the new coach is going to be. He obviously wants to make sure it’s a good fit for both sides.”
On Friday, Uter was offered by Kentucky. He has also gotten calls from Notre Dame, Alabama, Iowa, Boston College, Arkansas and Northwestern, among others.
That’s just the beginning, and it is expected get wild and crazy when the NCAA’s dead period ends on Jan. 16. Signing day is less than a month away.
For college scouts, what clearly separates Uter from the rest of the pack of de-commitments this time of year is his raw athleticism and high ceiling of potential. You just don’t find 6-4 kids who can run and hit like him. His new senior highlight film came out (that you can watch HERE), and you don’t have to be a veteran talent evaluator to know he’s something special.
I think Uter could soar into one of the state’s top 25 overall prospects in the final rankings. Currently, he’s rated at No. 62 in the 247sports.com composite rankings.
Why isn’t Uter ranked higher? Why wasn’t he more heavily-recruited before now? How could so many people miss on him earlier?
- For starters, Uter didn’t take football seriously until this year as a senior. Said Slade, “He has always been a big-time baseball prospect. That has always been his No. 1 love. Last summer before this football started, he just hit a switch. We always told him that he could play D1 football if he wanted to, and he just believed it and started working his butt off. He’s under the radar, but the colleges are catching on. He’s a beast. The thing about Cameron, his upside potential is through the roof. If can get the right coach in college, he can take football pretty far.”
- Colleges were scared away by baseball. Uter is MLB Draft prospect who will be heavily-scouted in the spring (Here’s one profile). He’s a tall and lanky pitcher who has a fastball clocked at 92mph. He could go in the top 10 rounds. “That was a big reason people shied away,” Slade said. “We didn’t know if he would go straight to the MLB Draft. But now he wants to college and play football. He wants to do both in college. It’s a win-win for him.” Alabama might’ve been deterred by baseball when they inquired about Uter a couple of months ago. “He got a call from Alabama, and that almost brought tears from his eyes,” Slade said. “(Assistant) Chris Rumph recruits this area for Alabama, and that’s when Kameron knew ‘OK, this thing is for real’ when they called right after the season. He plays baseball. I think it was almost like a Jameis Winston thing, and I’m not putting him in this category. But I don’t think Alabama would really entertain the idea of a guy playing two sports, so it kind of fizzled out really quick. But they were very interested in him, if he only wanted to play football.”
- Pace Academy is a tiny private school in Atlanta with a relatively new football program (beginning in 2008). There’s not much a football reputation there yet but Slade (in his first year) is working hard to change that. Pace finished 5-5 this year, and just missed the state playoffs, which hurt Uter with recruiters having more opportunities to scout him. However, Pace has a sterling reputation for academics, and grades certainly aren’t an issue for Uter, who has a 3.7 GPA in college prep classes and wants to study engineering. “He could be valedictorian at Pace Academy, if he wants to,” Slade said. “That’s saying a lot when one kid going to Harvard and another one to MIT out of this year’s class. He’s just a good all-around kid.”
- His senior film just came out (again, watch it HERE), and it’s much better than his junior film when he didn’t take football as serious. Said one college scout about the senior film, “Looks like a linebacker to me. Physical, quicker than fast … (but) he’s a man among boys in that league.” This past season, Uter played wide receiver but also started on defense at cornerback and safety. “He’s physical,” Slade said. “Iv’e got a motto, ‘No block, no rock.’ He took that slogan to heart. He runs (4.4 in 4) and catches the ball well, but it’s more impressive with the way he blocks people down the field.”
What’s next for Uter? He will sit down with his high school coaches on Monday or Tuesday to review his college options. He wants to go a school that has good academics and will let him play both football and baseball.
Uter has tentatively scheduled an official visit to Arkansas next week. He’s also expected to hear back from Notre Dame, which has also maintained serious interest. “Notre Dame has been by here a lot,” Slade said. “They like him a lot. Notre Dame just wants to make sure their (scholarship) numbers are right at his position before they move forward with an official visit or anything. We should probably know something next week.”
What about UGA and Georgia Tech? “I think Georgia flirted with him a little bit. He went to some camps there, but nothing happened. And I’ve never heard from one person at Georgia Tech, even though it has a great engineering program. I was surprised by that but I’m not sure he would’ve been a good fit for that offense so it was probably a blessing in disguise.”
Penn State hasn’t offered Uter yet, but there’s a strong possibility with Franklin taking over the program. At this point, Uter is receptive to any college, according to his coach.
“You know the crazy thing about Kameron with Alabama and Auburn and some of the bigger schools calling him? He’s not a bells and whistles guy,” Slade said. “That’s why he’s so intrigued by Vandy. Of course, he likes Stanford, too. He’s a different kid, in good way. He even wants to take official visits during the school week rather than the weekends. He’s not interested in going to the parties on the weekends. He really wants to go and examine the academics and athletic programs.
“We’ll see how everything unfolds over the next week. We should know a lot more in the next few days.”
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