Cameron Baker, a three-star 2019 linebacker out of Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson, isn’t the highest-rated 2019 football prospect in Iowa.
But you could argue he’s the most intriguing.
Just ask him when was the last time he played football pain-free, and you’ll know why.
“Eighth grade,” he answered in a Wednesday conversation with the Register.
Wait — three years ago?
Baker, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound freight train of an athlete, tweaked his right shoulder throwing a baseball the summer after eighth grade. He didn’t know it at the time, but he had a slight tear his right labrum.
It wasn’t too bad at the beginning — just an ache every now and then; a little stab if he moved the wrong way.
Baker is such a talented multi-sport athlete, so there was never a great time for surgery. And as he continued to pile up athletic accomplishments, the muscles continued to tear.
He started on varsity football as a freshman … with a torn right labrum.
He rushed for 1,255 yards and recorded 37.5 tackles, qualified for state wrestling and finished seventh in Class 4A state discus as a sophomore … with a torn right labrum.
He piled up 1,852 rushing yards, earned All-Iowa Elite Team running back honors and led his team with 44.5 tackles this year … with a torn right labrum.
And he became a three-star prospect with offers from Iowa and Northern Iowa … with a torn right labrum.
“I don’t remember the last time I’ve tackled somebody and didn’t have a jolt through my shoulder,” Baker laughed. “Once I got on the field, I guess the adrenaline took over. So I didn’t really think much of it. I just kind of went out on the field and sucked it up.”
He won’t have to suck it up anymore.