Land of 10 has embarked on a series of “Next Generation” articles, a project that aims to bring our readers greater insight into the class of 2017 signees. Land of 10 Iowa writers Scott Dochterman and Bobby La Gesse are hard at work visiting the Iowa incoming freshman class to show you more than its 40-yard dash times and recruiting rankings. Though the series officially will debut in March, we talked with 3-star DB Camron Harrell to give you a sneak peek about what you can expect.
BRADLEY, Ill. — The speed always stood out with Camron Harrell. He was like a human Roadrunner. The kid could run past or around anyone.
It’s why Bradley-Bourbonnais High School football coach Mike Kohl couldn’t tell if Harrell was a football or track guy when he first watched him.
“The kid is fast, really fast,” Kohl said. “He needed to develop into a football player.”
In time, he turned into a good one. Harrell signed to play defensive back for Iowa in February.
But you must forgive others around Illinois if they are as confused as Kohl when Harrell runs this spring. Harrell’s goal is to show he’s as good at track as he is at football. He is eyeing state titles in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and long jump.
“The triple crown,” Harrell said.
He knows it’s ambitious and the odds may be against him accomplishing it. Harrell, though, likes to set his goals higher than others to see if he can meet them.
The 100 is his best event. He took fourth in state last season and will be one of the favorites to win in 2017.
Harrell qualified for state in the long jump last season. So the skill is there. The 200 could very well be the problem. He didn’t run at state in the event last season.
Track practice just started. There aren’t times to compare with other runners. He doesn’t know exactly where he stands, but has a good idea.
“I am top 25 in the 200 without a doubt,” Harrell said. “The long jump is iffy because you can bust out one great jump and your next two can be terrible. You never really know, but I know I’m at least top 25 there.”
He’s going to rely on his speed to carry him to his dreams. His mantra is speed kills. His strength coach repeats it all the time. Harrell tries to live by it when training and competing.
“Everything is fast,” Harrell said. “When we lift it’s all fast. It’s all fast.”
Fast worked for him in football. He earned honorable mention all-state honors and led the Boilermakers to their first state semifinal appearance in 2015.
A two-way star, Harrell set the program record with 44 career touchdowns. Twenty-two came in his junior year, when his 14 touchdowns helped carry the team through the playoffs.
“He’s the fastest kid on the field every game that we played the last two years,” Kohl said.
Harrell wants to be the fastest kid on the track, too.
To get there, he must improve his starts — especially in the 100. It’s not his strength. So he’s spending practices perfecting his technique, making sure his first steps are crisp and fast while ensuring he doesn’t stand up too fast out of the block.
“I am more of fast in the top-end speed,” Harrell said. “I am not necessarily quick out of the start. I am more powerful.”
His running style is a lot like Usain Bolt. Now, Harrell isn’t like the Olympian, but both do their best in the second half of a sprint.
“He can’t come out of the box to save his life,” Kohl said, “but he is so powerful. Once he gets his leg turnover going, once he gets into a dead sprint he just flies by everyone.”
Harrell is looking to do the same in his senior year. The 5-10, 181-pound Harrell is starting slow. He’s using early season workouts to lean up and shed some muscle he added in the winter, with a focus on peaking at the state meet in May.
Kohl likely won’t bet against Harrell on the track because it seems like he’d never bet against him in anything.
“The biggest thing is his will to win,” Kohl said. “He’s relentless. That is how he trains, too.”
Running is vital to Harrell in maximizing his potential as an athlete and football player.
“The track has definitely helped him,” Kohl said. “Our track coach (Fred Dudek) is good and has made Cam faster.”
— Cam (@camronharrel) June 26, 2016
The favorite sport
So, track or football? Harrell chuckles when asked. There is an answer and he’s not afraid to share it because he knows the answer won’t upset Dudek, who is also his secondary coach.
He enjoys track for the competition, but football, well, football is something else.
“You can’t describe it,” Harrell said. “It takes skill. It takes speed, strength. It’s all combined into one. It’s the teamwork.”
Chasing a track triple crown is nice, but it doesn’t match running down a wide receiver.
For the complete Iowa NextGen series, click this link.