Cam Akers could have gone to college just about anywhere he wanted to. But now, Akers finds himself in the first and biggest game of his career when his Florida State Seminoles open the season against No. 1 Alabama in Atlanta in what’s anticipated to be one of the biggest opening-weekend games ever.
Akers said to USA Today chose to go to Florida State because of the culture at the school.
“Florida State was just the best situation for me,” he said. “Coaching stability, the relationship with the coaches, winning national championships. Florida State has everything I want, and it was the coolest campus.”
Akers was a highly-successful high school player who had his pick of the litter when selecting a school. He’s a highly dedicated player, and the hype surrounding him is real.
Akers is the guy who, in eighth grade, reportedly left a game after scoring a touchdown because he was dehydrated and vomiting. He re-entered the game a short time later and “immediately” scored another touchdown.
The morning after his high school prom, he ran a 4.44 in the 40-yard dash and registered a vertical of 40.6 inches.
Here’s what you need to know about Akers:
1. Akers Said He Narrowly Selected Florida State Over LSU
Akers made his highly-publicized decision on where he was going to school on December 28, 2016. He had narrowed his decision down to FSU, Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU, Georgia and Tennessee, and took some people by surprise by announcing he would be in a Seminoles jersey in the coming months.
“He’s a beast, he’s very competitive,” Akers’ stepfather Willie Neal said to WAPT 16 News. “He runs with a lot of power. Throws the ball really well. Has good vision and he just tries to make everyone around him better.”
Akers said it eventually became a decision between FSU and LSU, and the Tigers were an exteremly-close second.
“If it was a 40 time, Florida State hit the 40 in 4.41 (seconds),” Akers told SEC Country. “LSU hit it at a 4.42.”
He said he weighed the pros and cons of both schools and didn’t come to the decision he’d attend FSU until Christmas Day 2016.
“It was real close,” he said to SEC Country.
2. Akers’ Mother Was Diagnosed With Breast Cancer in 2009
Akers said he has been inspired to succeed by his mother, Angela Michael Neal, who was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer in October 2009, according to The Clarion-Ledger. He was 10-years old when she was diagnosed and told the newspaper that he saw firsthand as his mother battled the side effects of chemotherapy. Those included losing her hair, being weak, not having much of an appetite and more.
“That instilled something in Cam,” his father, Conni, said to the newspaper. “He learned that if his mom can go through that type of something, there is nothing that can stop him from getting what he wants.”
Neal was cancer free two years later in July 2011.
3. Akers Was Highly Touted, Five-Star Recruit out of High School
There was good reason for the strong reception to Akers, as he was an absolute beast on the field at Clinton High School in Mississippi.
Akers played quarterback for Clinton and started eight games as a freshman. By his sophomore year, he started garnering attention from scouts across the nation for his accurate arm and ability to break for a long run at any time.
As a sophomore, Akers passed for 1,800 yards and 20 touchdowns and ran for 896 yards and 17 touchdowns. His junior season, he really started to shine and showed a polished game. Akers passed for 2,331 yards and 8 touchdowns, running for 1,418 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Akers’ senior season was one of the best ever and make you check twice to see if the stats are accurate. In 15 games, Akers passed for an impressive 3,128 yards and 31 touchdowns. He also surpassed 2,000 yards rushing (2,105 yards) and had an incredible 34 rushing touchdowns.
If those gaudy numbers didn’t have scouts salivating from their mouths, nothing would.
4. Akers, an All-American Selection, Said Playing in the Game Was a ‘Dream Come True’
With those numbers, it should come as no surprise that Akers was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl last year.
“Akers has enough speed to get the edge, possesses good vision and shows the patience to set up his blockers,” his biography on the game’s website said. “He can run inside or on the perimeter with his size and skill-set.”
USA Today allowed players in the All-American Bowl to keep a diary of the week leading up to the big game. Akers spoke about how playing in the game was “a dream come true” for him ever since he took the field at Clinton as a freshman.
“I’ve been dreaming of coming to this game since I came for myself in the ninth grade,” Akers wrote. “This is a blessing. I was in the ninth grade USA game and they took us to the game. Me seeing all the guys competing out there in that Army Bowl definitely motivated me to be a part of it.”
Akers said being surrounded by some of the best college recruits in the nation at the game was a fun time.
“This is a great experience,” he wrote. “I advise everyone to come and see it and if you’re a player, work to make it here. The best come out here. Any upcoming football player, come here and experience it. It’s one of a kind and a real blessing to experience it.”
5. Akers Impressed During the Seminoles’ Spring Game
Akers’ first time in an FSU jersey was when the Seminoles held their spring game April 8. He certainly lived up the hype in the glorified practice, reports say. He led all running backs with 87 yards rushing and had 64 of them on one drive during the third quarter.
“He showed quickness, great vision and a little power, too,” Tampa Bay Times reporter Matt Baker wrote.
Trying to fill the void that Dalvin Cook left, Akers looks like he may indeed live up to the hype.
“A lot of talent,” quarterback Deondre Francois said of Akers to Baker. “I can’t wait to see what the future will hold for him.”