Miami Dolphins' Cam Wake returns to Maryland, where his high school coach changed his life
Hyattsville, MD (CBS12) —
One of the best defensive ends in the history of the Miami Dolphins had dreams of being a basketball player. Cam Wake knew little about football until his junior year at DeMatha Catholic, located between Baltimore and Washington D.C. That's when a coach and fate intervened, to change the future of the Miami Dolphins.
Wake says he owes much of his success to Bill McGregor. The coach that convinced him to leave the basketball team to play football.
"I was a little aggressive for basketball to say the least," says Wake with a smile.
But that aggression was perfect for the football. Then going by his first name, Derek Wake went from having never played football, to being one of the best high school defensive linemen in the country in two years.
"He was the best pure athlete that I've ever played with," says former teammate and current DeMatha coach Elijah Brooks. "And that I've ever seem at the high school level."
"(The thing) that you saw in him was a great competitiveness," says McGregor. "He has a heart of a lion."
Some still call him Derek at his alma mater, but the rest of the world knows him by his middle name now. Coaches and teammates saw what Cam could be, and Cam gives credit to Dematha for charting him on the right course.
"That mentality of get your work done, do what you need to do so you can do what you want to do," recalls Wake. "I think that started with coach McGregor."
"As a football coach you never know that your guys are good enough to make it to the NFL," says McGregor. "But I knew that he has that internal drive that separated him from a lot of other guys."
DeMatha Catholic is one of the most successful athletic programs in the country, and they can't wait to put their most prized former football player Cam Wake in the hall of fame. But who knows how long they'll have to wait for him to retire, as he is still going strong.