For Scotlandville senior Dorian Camel, the anticipation just before the snap of the football is only rivaled by the moments preceding a race during a track meet.
The adrenaline rush is undeniable and, in a split second, Camel is almost a blur, whether he’s pursuing the ball carrier or pulling away in a sprint.
That blazing speed and a relentless pursuit have transformed Camel into one of the state’s top two-sport athletes. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder has garnered 13 Division I scholarship offers, with Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Louisiana Tech and Duke gaining an early nod.
“I really got serious about football in the eighth grade,” he said. “I feel good about making it to this level. All of my coaches kept saying to work hard, because I had the frame for this.”
And a physical mentality to go with it.
Given his track background, which features personal bests this spring of 10.67 seconds in the 100 meters and 21.57 in the 200, Camel has dispelled the stereotype that someone with blistering speed can only be a finesse player on the football field.
“College coaches like his size, range and speed on film,” Scotlandville coach LaVanta Davis Jr. said. “But he’s not just fast. He’ll hit you with his speed. You could see the progress he made in the spring, where he built a lot of momentum.”
Scotlandville, which reached the LHSAA Division I select state championship game a year ago, features three of the state’s top 50 prospects for the Class of 2018, according to 247sports.com, led by five-star cornerback Kelvin Joseph, an LSU commitment.
The combination of a solid junior season in football and track elevated Camel, a three-star recruit, to the nation’s No. 24 safety prospect, according to 247sports. Scout.com ranks him the state’s No. 4 cornerback.
Camel acknowledged playing in the same defensive backfield as Joseph has its advantages when it comes to recruiting. He also credited his performance March 19 at an Under Armour camp in Houston for opening some doors.
“I think some of it helped,” Camel said of having a national-caliber prospect in Joseph on his team. “It motivates me to become a better player. We’ll always clown around about who’s got the hardest hits. We just push each other to be great.”
Said Davis: “(Camel) can walk in his own shoes.”
It’s quite a challenge for opposing offenses to account for the versatile Camel, who as the “rover” can line up at any of the three levels of Scotlandville’s defense.
Camel had six sacks to go with 51 total tackles, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries last year. He also covered slot receivers and lined up at cornerback and free safety, earning All-District 4-5A second-team honors.
He also has been a force on the Hornets kickoff coverage unit.
“When I used to play with my cousins,” Camel said, “they used to talk about going downfield and taking somebody’s head off. That goes through my head when the ball’s kicked. I say it’s my ball; I have to go and get it.”
Camel treats track foes with the same competitiveness. He helped Scotlandville to a fifth-place showing at the Class 5A state meet, anchoring the Hornets' 800-meter relay to a state title and the 1,600 unit to a runner-up finish. He wound up third in the 400.
“I want to run track on the next level,” said Camel, who is academically qualified. “That’s going to be big. I want to do both. I just have to stay humble and keep working hard.”