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South Forsyth football standout Camp commits to Liberty
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South Forsyth rising senior Jalen Camp committed to Liberty University this past weekend to a Flames program that is part of an evolving landscape in paying student athletes in college. - photo by File photo

South Forsyth receiver and defensive back Jalen Camp has received recruiting attention from Georgia Tech, Illinois, Cincinnati and Middle Tennessee State. A late bloomer physically and a new student of the game, Camp still has his senior season in front of him to prove to college coaches what he’s made of.

All of that, for now, is moot.

Camp committed last Saturday to play for Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., just hours after attending a prospect camp on campus. At the time of his commitment, Camp also held an offer from Illinois State, which reached the national championship game in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) in 2014-15.

Camp said he and his father, Richard, were drawn to Liberty because of its academics, facilities and the paramount fact that it will be the first FCS school to offer full cost of attendance, much like the Football Bowl Subdivision teams, which will be required to offer full cost of attendance in the near future.

The new NCAA mandate on full cost of attendance for FBS programs was voted in favor on Jan. 17. The new requirements for top-tier programs include stipends for necessary expenses for student athletes not included in their full scholarships, along with multi-year scholarships, replacing the year-by-year model.

Liberty, a well-endowed non-profit university with an online enrollment of over 100,000 students, has the financial clout, often absent with FCS programs, necessary to independently mandate similar benefits to its student athletes.

“That was one of the first things that stood out,” Camp said. “I also like that they’ve had a 100 percent graduation rate of student athletes for the past four seasons. That’s a really big deal to me.”

Camp plans to major in business.

“The facilities are also great,” Camp said.

Camp also acknowledged how much Liberty, coached by former Buffalo and Kansas head coach Turner Gill, wanted him to be there.

“After camp, me and my Dad sat down with (Gill), and he told us that they had a list of top prospects they were looking at and that they would begin to call them one-by-one,” Camp said. “I actually got the top call. They said I was number one on their list. After that it really didn’t take that much thought.”

The recruiting process was new to Camp, who said the primary interactions between him and coaches at Liberty came from conversations on Twitter.

“That was all new to me,” Camp said. “The process itself was new to me.”

Liberty finished 9-5 and 4-1 in Big South Conference play in 2014-15, winning the conference title in a tie breaker with Coastal Carolina.

Camp will enter his senior season at South as a strong safety for the War Eagles, who went 6-5 in 2014. Camp will also play his former primary position of wide receiver.