University Press

Football: Defensive lineman Charles Cameron trades in his helmet for headphones when he leaves the field

One of FAU’s most touted football recruits has a passion for singing R&B.

Charles+Cameron+waits+for+a+play+to+start+during+spring+practice.+Photo+courtesy+of+Jake+Elman
Charles Cameron waits for a play to start during spring practice. Photo courtesy of Jake Elman

Charles Cameron waits for a play to start during spring practice. Photo courtesy of Jake Elman

Charles Cameron waits for a play to start during spring practice. Photo courtesy of Jake Elman

Wajih AlBaroudi, Contributing Writer

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Six-foot two, 305 pounds and built like a tank, FAU defensive tackle Charles Cameron doesn’t just channel his passion on the gridiron, but also on the microphone.

One of FAU’s highest touted 2018 football recruits, Cameron doubles his dominant work on the field with an aspiring rhythm and blues career. His voice — like his presence on the Owls defensive line — is larger than life.

Growing up in Mississippi — home of the Delta Blues — shaped Cameron’s view of music. The soulful voices of his home state’s artists gave Cameron an affinity for love songs.

“It’s not what they are saying, it is what the message is,” Cameron said. “I like songs that speak to you, speak to your soul, what you are going through, and how you feel.”

Cameron shares his Dec. 11 birthday with his late grandmother, Maria Cameron, but according to his family, that may not be their only similarity.

Cameron’s grandmother was a singer, and although she passed away early in his life, his family believes her heart — and voice  — carried on to her grandson.

He said that when he was a child, he began singing along to a record that was playing.

His voice grew stronger as the song progressed, and by the end he was belting out full melodic verses. It was at that moment Cameron knew music would be a part of his life forever.

Soon after his musical epiphany, Cameron began songwriting. In sixth grade, he wrote a song titled “Running Through My Mind.” Little did he know that in a few years he would be in Boca Raton running through offensive linemen.

Whether he is in class, at home, or at practice, music is always on his mind. While he still enjoys listening to other artists, Cameron prefers creating and listening to his own songs, which he said can be a spontaneous process.

“I just think of some lyrics and start singing out of nowhere,” he said.

Although, none of Cameron’s teammates or coaches have heard him sing before and he plans to keep it that way. He said he worries his coaches would make him perform at practice if they discovered his vocal talent.

Charles Cameron receives instruction from an assistant coach at spring practice. Photo courtesy of Jake Elman

What he has shown his coaches however, is disruptive play on the field.

“You can see how quick he is off the ball,” head coach Lane Kiffin said. “If this were the fall we’d be saying we wish we had him earlier.”

Cameron said he values the importance of keeping his passions of football and music separate, as he uses the latter as an escape from the daily grind of the former.

“I see it as a gateway to my place to stay calm,” he said.

Cameron added there’s a stereotype that musicians his size can only be rappers, and said it’s harder to break through in the R&B genre if one fails to fit its cookie cutter aesthetic mold. Cameron said even his friends doubted his vocal ability, until he finally sang for them.

“They [were] shocked at first, when I first started singing,” Cameron said. “I am big and tall, muscled, so they [were not] expecting that out of me.”

Cameron said music is more than a hobby and added he could see himself becoming a professional singer or songwriter in the future. He describes himself as an R&B artist first and a football player second, but said he loves both equally.

“It never mattered to me which one I would say because one of them is going to be my career,” Cameron said. “Which ever one gives me a shot to be successful.”

While he still must decide between a music or football career, his life goals are set in stone: making his family proud and traveling the world.

Cameron had zero scholarship offers coming out of Morton High School, but after an incredible 2017 season playing for Copiah-Lincoln Community College, he was ranked the No. 17 juco prospect in the state of Mississippi, according to 247 Sports.

The chip on Cameron’s shoulder didn’t fall off when he signed his letter of intent to FAU. He said the next step in proving his doubters wrong is becoming the best player in Conference-USA.

Cameron said he would be interested in performing the halftime show at one of his football games, strictly love songs of course. He also expressed a desire to sing the pregame national anthem, although he might run into a small problem.

“I got to learn it first, I am not going to lie I don’t know some of the words. But I can do it one day,” Cameron said.

He dreams of one day performing at Madison Square Garden, just a slightly bigger stage than the one he took for his eighth-grade talent show victory.

During a pass blocking “one-on-one” drill, Cameron slipped past the outstretched arms of the offensive lineman facing him and stormed into the backfield with ease. He celebrated by breaking into a worm-like dance in the end zone, his teammates erupting with laughter behind him.

According to Cameron, that was just a sample of what he can do on the field — and on the stage.

“I could dance though — when I sing, but that was just for fun,” he added.

He said he’s grateful for his opportunity at FAU and promises to give maximum effort in hitting both high notes and quarterbacks in the near future.

Wajih AlBaroudi is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet @WajihAlBaroudi.

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