After tearing his ACL in Week 8 against Rutgers, many were skeptical whether Indiana wide receiver Cam Camper would be ready Week 1 the next season.
Fast forward 10 months, Camper says he feels ready to handle the task of facing Big Ten powerhouse Ohio State to open up the 2023 season, even if he is still in recovery mode.
“I feel confident,” Camper said Monday. “I’m ready to just go out there and play with my group of guys. That’s the main thing.”
As a junior, Camper was one of the standout transfers on the offensive end last season for the Hoosiers. The Trinity Valley C.C. product led all receivers with 46 catches and 569 yards, even after his injury sidelined him for the last four games of the season.
Camper made significant recovery progress throughout the fall camp period, which, in turn, granted him the ability to start Week 1. Indiana head coach Tom Allen and his staff remain cautious with the amount of reps they give Camper in practice, and that may translate to Saturdays’ game. However, as for practice goes, there is no limitation on what drills and situations he can participate in, including getting tackled.
While he wore a blue jersey for much of IU’s 2023 fall camp signifying he could not be hit, Camper has had few limitations more recently.
“I pretty much do everything. We’re just making sure we’re being smart about everything, keeping me safe out there, and making sure nothing crazy happens.”
Perhaps what prompted such a fast recovery was the support system that surrounded Camper. During the offseason, he turned to his old high school teammates for some advice on how to deal with injuries.
“My high school teammates had some injuries, and one of them actually tore their ACL. He just told me to keep working everyday, there’s going to be good days and bad days, but that helped me get through it.”
Even with his swift comeback, Camper established that he isn’t quite 100 percent yet, but feels ready to play. The Indiana staff has reiterated that they want to make sure that their senior captain is ready to produce not just Week 1, but the rest of the season. Even if on a snap count, Camper vows that he is ready to help the team however possible, and he is excited to return to action.
“I just know it’s going to be fun. Especially with who we’re playing against, it’s going to be fun out there. That’s kind of where my mind is right now. I’m not really worried about who we’re playing, I’m just glad to be playing football again.”
Even so, the Hoosiers have a tough challenge on their opening day kickoff, going up against potential Big Ten and College Football Playoff contenders in Ohio State.
However, the matchup has little to no concern with Camper, for he sees many positives in facing a tough opponent so early in the season.
“We got everybody back, everybody is ready to go, and then I just feel like we got something to prove,” he said. “Every day we step out there, and we’re going to do what we have to do.”
Indiana and Ohio State kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington.
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