New in ’16: Jalen Camp wants ‘to make a statement’

Jalen Camp on a visit to Georgia Tech as a high-schooler at South Forsyth. (Courtesy Jalen Camp)

Jalen Camp on a visit to Georgia Tech as a high-schooler at South Forsyth. (Courtesy Jalen Camp)

Wide receiver Jalen Camp is one of three wide receivers in Georgia Tech’s incoming freshman class, joining Stephen Dolphus and Jair Hawkins-Anderson. From South Forsyth High, Camp made a big jump as a senior, catching 47 passes for 819 yards and 15 touchdowns. Camp is still learning the game, having first played as a sophomore. Camp, 6-foot-2 and 213 pounds, was rated a two-star prospect by 247 Sports. He will wear No. 80, worn last season by Brandon Oliver.

Why he chose Tech:

“There was too many positives. Obviously, everybody knows the academics, one of the best institutions in the country. And from a family standpoint, it’s right in Georgia with all my family (nearby) and finally, the football standpoint, I would have the opportunity at play at my position and maybe have the opportunity to pursue it further at the next level, seeing as the last two receivers they had (Darren Waller and DeAndre Smelter) are in the NFL.”

What he’s most excited about:

“Just the college experience in general. The thing I’m most excited about is playing football on the ACC stage with all the fans and just everybody. It’s a big difference from a high-school football game.”

What he did to prepare for Tech:

Camp said he was in the gym six times a week. Camp’s father Richard owns a CrossFit gym, where he did lifting and cardio training, and he also spent time running routes. Wide receivers coach Buzz Preston sent him a video to teach the techniques he uses, as well as routes and coverages.

What he needs to work on:

“Coming in from high-school route running to college route running, it’s a big difference, so I’ve got to get that going.”

Camp likes to watch video clips of Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper, the former Alabama star, to study his game.

“I would say it’s the deceptiveness and just the smoothness of (his routes),” Camp said. “None of his routes are choppy or anything.”

Biggest concern:

Camp said he’s not really concerned about anything.

“I know I’ve just got to get out there,” he said. “School first. I’ve got to get out there and keep my head in the books and just focus.”

What makes him different:

“I guess I’m very hardworking. That sounds cliché; I’m sure everybody says that. I’m a really hardworking guy. I pay attention to detail. And I’m just a real family man. Since I’m leaving the house for the first time, I’ve got to go out in society and make a statement for the Camp family.”

(Camp has some backup. His high-school coach said that “nobody’s going to outwork him” in the weight room.

What he wants to say at the end of his career:

“That I was able to earn a degree at one of the best institutes in the entire country and that I gave it everything, in terms of academics and football, that I could to the institute.”

(Camp has picked up on Tech people referring to their school as an institute. “I gotta get that right,” he said.)

What he was making sure to bring with him:

“It’s got to be my PS (PlayStation) 4.”

Most memorable part of his recruitment:

Camp said that, following his senior season, a number of schools stopped by South Forsyth to see him, sending assistant coaches. Tech’s was different.

“I walk into the office, and Coach (Paul) Johnson was there,” he said. “First head coach I really saw. That made me come to a realization that they were serious about me, because all the other schools were sending assistant coaches, recruiting coordinators, but Tech sent their head coach.”

Where he might have gone if it hadn’t been Tech (Camp had been committed to Liberty since the previous summer):

“I really, really do not know. I was talking to some other colleges, like Cincinnati, Wake Forest, other schools like that. I don’t know. Tech came along, and you can’t pass that up.”

This season:

Wide receiver has typically been a position where first-year freshmen have been able to get on the field (Brad Stewart did it last year). He’ll have competition with Dolphus and Hawkins-Anderson, but there’s spots. After Ricky Jeune and Stewart, there’s not much in terms of experience.

“College plays are obviously more in depth than a high-school playbook,” he said. “The quicker I learn, I feel like he quicker I get on the field.”

Johnson on Camp:

At signing day, Johnson related his experience at a visit to a high-school coaches association gathering.

“I had no less than three coaches come up to me and they didn’t even know the kid’s name,” Johnson said. “’Hey, that wide receiver at South Forsyth is really good.’ It makes you feel good about that kid. Now what he does in the college level, you don’t know, but those are the guys that know, not the guys who are ranking ’em by stars. They’re the guys who play against them.”

Series to date:

DT Brandon Adams brings size, playmaking ability

LB Jakob Brashear says he won’t be outworked


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