Meet Five-Star Michigan RB Target Camar Wheaton, The Unicorn Of Recruiting
Ant Saincilaire remembers sitting with his highly touted running back at last year’s TCU vs. Ohio State game in Fort Worth and chatting about the atmosphere.
Camar Wheaton, a bona fide superstar in recruiting circles, made quite the interesting comment: “Coach, this is my first football game.”
In a day and age where social media is king, and tweets about offers and visits reign supreme, Wheaton, a five-star 2021 prospect from Garland (Texas) Lakeview Centennial, is a unicorn.
Wheaton is barely active on social media, doesn’t do any interviews unless you track him down in person and didn’t really start making visits until this past spring. While some recruits are up in arms about rankings, Wheaton could care less about being a five-star.
He just wants to ball and do right for his family.
“You’re right with your analysis, he’s kind of a unicorn,” said Lakeview Centennial head coach Kendall Miller. “A lot of kids that have his talents get arrogance. But he doesn’t have it. He’s very humble. That makes you want to see him succeed. Because he’s the way that he is, we’re able to treat him like everybody else on our football team.
“There are a lot of people that could take notes and learn from him about how to handle everything.”
Saincilaire, who coaches wide receivers and doubles as Lakeview Centennial’s recruiting coordinator, shared similar sentiments.
“A lot of people look at Camar as a five-star back, which is great,” Saincilaire said. “But he’s got a five-star personality. You see him off the field and how he interacts with his team, and that’s what it’s about. That impresses me the most. I can tell you countless stories about him putting the team first.”
Ask Wheaton about the recruiting process, and he’ll give you his own version of a Marshawn Lynch one liner.
“I’m just focused on football right now,” Wheaton says with a smirk after practicing in 105 degree Texas heat.
Wheaton isn’t lying. Ranked as the No. 7 recruit in the country in the 2021 class, Wheaton rushed for 1,106 yards and 14 touchdowns as a sophomore. Most pundits believe he will double those numbers this year. Expectations are sky high.
Wheaton doesn’t feel the pressure, though. He’s more focused on helping his team win. Lakeview Centennial finished with a 5-4 record last season and missed the playoffs.
“I don’t care about the individual stuff,” Wheaton said. “I just want to help my team anyway I can. I just want to see us win consistently. I’m not worried about recruiting either. I just want to help my team and help everybody get better.”
With the season opener a little more than a week away, Wheaton goes through the same drills two or three times or more — depending on how long it takes him to do it perfectly. He makes sure his fellow running backs take the same approach.
Recruiting is the last thing on his mind.
However, Wheaton got a taste of the process this offseason. He made trips to regional schools like Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and SMU. He also saw Alabama and made a Midwest swing that included stops at Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Kansas.
Believe it or not Wheaton really hadn’t made unofficial visits prior to this offseason. Even stranger, Wheaton doesn’t watch much college football and isn’t super familiar with a lot of programs and their backstories.
Still, Wheaton isn’t as green as one might think. He knows what he’s looking for — player development, strength and conditioning program, quality coaching, comfort and academics (yes, Wheaton is a plus student in the classroom).
Michigan made its pitch during his stop there this offseason and certainly caught his attention.
“The Michigan visit was crazy, man,” Wheaton said. “They had a lot of things that I’ve never seen before. The stadium is way bigger than I thought it was. Everything about Michigan was bigger. Everything seemed really advanced. Coach (Jim) Harbaugh coaching in the NFL helps. That’s something I look at when I do my research.
“I loved the strength and conditioning program. They showed me some stuff that could help me. I actually had a hamstring problem when I went up there, and what they told me helped.”
While Michigan running backs coach Jay Harbaugh wasn’t on campus for his stop, Wheaton felt good vibes from the rest of the Wolverines staff and also had a chance to chat with Harbaugh over the phone.
“The coaches were really cool,” Wheaton said. “They talked to me about what can make me better, my footwork and my blocking. Coach (Jay) Harbaugh wasn’t there, but I got on the phone with him for a while, and he seemed like a cool guy. I just have to meet him in-person.”
Both Miller and Saincilaire joined Wheaton for his visit. In Texas, having a strong relationship with a recruits’ high school coach is just as important as having one with his family.
Michigan made sure to show them tremendous hospitality as well.
“Michigan was an awesome place,” Saincilaire said. “It’s called the Big House for a reason. It’s definitely impressive. It was important to explain to him the history and the players that have played on that field. (Wheaton) was impressed with the way things went there.
“The biggest thing on that trip up North was to see the different culture and see that football is done differently outside of Texas. I wish we could have spent more time at Michigan, and we hope that happens soon.”
“Michigan was really good. The facilities were unbelievable. We thought it would be nice, but we didn’t know it would be that nice. Michigan is a place that we still really talk about as coaches. Everyone has bells and whistles but what they had was really superb. Michigan was a neat experience.”
Catching a game in the Big House this season could be in the cards for Wheaton and his coaches as Michigan continues to be a player in his recruitment. For now, he has no game visits scheduled.
Wheaton is looking to potentially making a decision shortly after his junior season. But of course, that timeline could change.
The dude is just focused on football right now.