Jamal Camp’s favorite play of his senior season came during the most dire of circumstances.
Hosting North Forsyth on a chilly October night, South Forsyth was in the middle of trying to dig itself out of a 17-point hole in a critical region matchup. On the defensive line, Camp’s eyes were honed in on North Forsyth quarterback Carter Mullikin.
The mobile signal caller rolled out to his right, but South’s defensive backs had all of his targets covered. Two yards from the sideline, Camp closed in and only needed one arm to pull him to the turf right in front of a pumped-up South bench.
“(Defensive coordinator Trevor) Williams pointed to me and I pointed back at him,” Camp said. “It just gave me goosebumps from there.”
Camp’s play helped the War Eagles cap off a 35-34 comeback win that night, a victory that was eventually the difference in South reaching the postseason. As the county’s premier pass rusher during his senior year, Camp used his strength and his frame to total 59 total tackles, five for loss, along with a team-leading seven sacks and 27 quarterback hurries.
The War Eagles had a much more aggressive approach to defense than any other team in the county. Camp’s presence on the defensive line was a big reason why South was able to execute that strategy.
“People always had to know where he was,” South head coach Jeff Arnette said. “They had to have two people on him. Even with getting all the attention he got, and two blockers on him most of the time, he still made a bunch of plays. He not only dominated the game in making plays but he dominated the game in what coaches had to prepare for to deal with him on defense.”
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As the year went on, Camp’s impact only grew. Arnette knew it was in his team’s best interest to play him as much as possible, and not to have one of his best athletes watching from the sidelines for half the game. As the War Eagles made their final push for a playoff spot, Camp began to see time on the offensive line, a tough transition made better with coaching and spurred on by a team-first attitude.
“It was definitely hard,” Camp said. “Obviously, that's what the team needed. I'm not opposed to offensive line at all. If I could play for any coach my four years, I'd play for (offensive line) coach Jake Martin. He's my favorite coach, by far. He's just a crazy person -- he's the closest to my dad that I could get as a coach, the way that he coaches his players.”
Camp’s next chapter will start next season at Georgia Tech, where he’ll join fellow South alum and older brother Jalen Camp. He’ll look back at his time at South fondly, not just for the run of success the War Eagles had in his four years, but because of his production and most of all, the relationships he had with his teammates.
“I tried to do everything in my power,” Camp said. “I've always tried to be a leader on my team and have people try to follow my lead and follow my example.
“I've started something and I finished it. It's bigger than any tackle, any sack, any fumble, anything that I've ever been able to accomplish. That's my biggest accolade at this school.”