By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Some quick facts about the state of Nebraska.
It became the 37th state on March 1, 1867 and lies in the Great Plains. The Midwestern state has the capital of Lincoln. And the territory was explored by Lewis and Clark.
Now Brighton senior Cameron Butler will get a firsthand education of the state in the middle of the country when he arrives this fall for school at Midland University. One of the best defensive backs in Tennessee, Butler recently signed his national letter of intent to play football for the Warriors of the GPAC, a NAIA school.
“It feels great,” Butler said. “It’s a good opportunity for me to get out of the state and go somewhere I’ve never been and do somethings a lot of people don’t get to do. I’m just ready to embrace this opportunity and play some football.
“I get to go somewhere and try to put Tipton County on the map,” he added. “A lot of great people have come out of Tipton County. It’s a great thing for me to go somewhere else and let them know where I came from.”
Joined by his siblings Colby and Vada at his signing in the Brighton Gymnasium, Cameron got a chance to thank his parents Rachel and Calvin for their help over the years.
“Football has always been a big part of his life and our lives,” Rachel said. “I can’t remember there being a time he hasn’t played football. We’ve just always since he was 5 years old playing for SYS. We took him to every practice and he became a great football player.”
Cameron started as a Munford Cougar/Tipton County Chiefs in youth football. As a child Cameron experimented with different sports when a football coach John Shaw had a talk with Calvin.
Shaw suggested to Calvin to allow Cameron to split time between Tee Ball and SYS Football. That decision grew into Cameron selecting the gridiron as his primary game.
“We thought that was it with his high school,” Calvin acknowledged. “Then this opportunity came along. We’re real thankful. He’s dedicated. He grew up playing all sports, baseball, football and basketball. Just this love of football, when he got to high school, he was football only.
“Cameron is a hard worker,” he added. “He’s very coachable. He has very good ball skills. He’s going to probably have to work on his speed a little bit. But he’s very coachable which is the most important thing. Coaches love him. He’s still young. He’s still growing, he won’t be 18 until the end of August.”
Brighton Head Football Coach Robin Jacobs said Cameron has already matured into a leader.
“Midland College has just gotten a lot better,” the veteran coach said. “He’s a super, fantastic young man. A great football player. He’s an example, definitely not what our season was like recordwise. He’s one of the consistents in our program. An extremely hard worker. They got better today the school he’s going to in Nebraska. He’s a compliment to any football team. I hate to see him go.”
Jacobs said what got Butler ranked by MaxPreps as a top defensive back was his combination of intelligence and physical play.
“He was always where he was supposed to be,” he said. “He did what you told him to do. When you talk to Cameron, you need to be speaking the truth. He’s going to try to please you. That’s what he did. His leadership on and off the field, he’s even including himself in our weight lifting program to get the younger kids better for next year.”
The 5’11, 170-pound athlete demanded respect among his teammates at Brighton. With is signing to Midland, Butler said he hopes to give his Cardinal teammates one more lesson.
“Importance of being a leader and coaching up the young guys, letting them know things,” he said, “I was trying to be a role model for them by making plays on the field. So they would know how it feels.
“Encourage them to do what they need to do to get to the next level in football if they want to and somebody for them to look up to,’ Cameron added. “Maybe one day they’ll be signing.”
As he prepares to head to the Midwest and learn about his college home, Cameron has his goals set to earn a degree, grow as a player and put Tipton County on the map in Nebraska.
“I’m going to miss him,” Rachel concluded. “But I can’t be selfish about it. I want him to experience life. Football in another state, I think it’s a tremendous opportunity. I’m going to miss him but I would never hold him back.”