Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Dolphin - Cameron Wake

To the left, Cameron Wake (#94) lets out a scream after a tackle in a Penn State/Iowa game. #99 looks like he's about to take notes on how to scream after a tackle. Not known as a fan favorite because he apparently sucked at football, Wake did manage to get 191 tackles in 2 years as a starter at WLB. (he missed his sophomore year with a torn MCL, and was a reserve in his freshman year). He was known more for his athletic ability than anything, posting amazing numbers at the Combine and his pro day: 4.49 40, 45.5" vertical, 10'10" broad jump (say what!!) to name a few.

But after his collegiate career he went undrafted and joined the NY Giants, did not make a splash, and was cut after the June mini-camp. Why he didn't get picked up by another team is a bit of a question mark, but after doing some investigating, I discovered that in addition to Wake actually showing up at the wrong place for his CFL work-out audition, he had a history of not being a gym guy, and also being slow to pick up schemes and read plays.

And then he sat on his butt for a year.

This is where his story starts to sound like a Hollywood movie.

Because this is when the Earthq'WAKE was born. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes (after spending a year doing nothing but lifting weights and staying up all night imagining himself playing professional football, yearning for it 24 hours a day), a phoenix with a new moniker (changed from Derek to Cameron), a new body (put on 25 lbs of muscle), and a new attitude. An attitude of being not only 'good enough' but striving to be the best. Not his own personal best, but better than anyone else, too.

This is a story of a man completely changing himself for the better. That's a hard thing to do. Most people if put under pressure, could turn it up a notch, maybe give '110 percent'. Wake, under no other pressure than wanting it badly, turned it up to 200 percent. And it worked. He became an overnight success in the CFL, so popular that fans made ridiculous photo-shop wall papers of him (see orange monstrosity above - like anyone would want an orange computer screen...).

And then....I discovered Wake through reading about the Arizona Cardinals. They were very big on this guy, and I thought little of it. Until the South Florida media stated he was working out for the Dolphins. And then, a week later, he was a Dolphin. Still wearing his CFL number, 91, Wake will likely back-up Joey Porter this year, a perfect mentoring situation, allowing him to learn the speed of the game for a year before growing into a starting role. I do, however expect him to get a lot of snaps, as he could be in the nickel package right away as he is known for being good at covering underneath.

As much as it shocked me that I hadn't done a 'New Dolphin' segment on Wake yet, I believe I passed on it initially because there was a media frenzy at first, and then by the draft most people had forgotten about him. Well, while I don't want to jump the boat and say he'll be the next big thing for Miami, I don't think I'll be taking a significant risk when I order my #91 jersey this fall. I will of course wait until then just in case he gets hurt during camp and put on IR.

So, are you ready for the EarthQ'Wake? :)

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