When Cameron Elisara hit campus three years ago it was a major recruiting coup for Washington. Not only was he one of the top defensive linemen on the West coast he was also the son of a former Washington State Cougar.
Here we are at the start of year three and the sophomore from Spokane still hasn't had that breakthrough that the fans and the coaches have been looking for. Cameron played a bit last year, but didn't make a move for a starting job on one of the worst statistical defenses in Husky history. This spring he inherited one of the starting jobs at DT but he still didn't make the quantum leap everyone has been expecting since he hit campus.
One thing we can say about Cameron is that it is just a matter of time because he is one of the hardest workers on the football team. He is known as a workout warrior, and leads by example in the weight room. He is also a good student being named to the 2007 Pac Ten All Academic team. That type of hard work is bound to start paying off this season now that he is going to get plenty of experience playing every week.
It has been an interesting first week of practice at Washington. Mykena Ikehara a highly recruited center from Hawaii served notice that he is going to be a player by getting the best of Elisara in a one on one drill. Good news for Mykena, but not good news for Elisara since this is his third year, and for the defensive line to have success in 2008 he is going to have to be one of the main cogs on the line.
ESPN ranked Elisara as the #24 defensive tackle in the country coming out of high school. Here is what they had to say about him back then.
Elisara is a physical defensive lineman whose athletic ability and toughness make him hard to handle between the tackles. He exhibits an explosive first step and is tough to block as a penetrating one gap defender. He does an excellent job of shooting his hands and controlling blockers at the point of attack. He is able to maintain separation and come off blocks to make tackles along the line of scrimmage. He is a relentless high motor player who also runs down on kickoffs and makes plays. He is a strong tackler who is excellent at wrapping up the ball carrier.
He is a very good pass rusher who is able to get a jump on blockers and is excellent at using his hands to keep separation. He does a very nice job of flipping his hips and getting skinny in the hole and getting to the quarterback. He has the presence to get his hands up when necessary and can be a disruption in the backfield. He is solid in the open field, but his strength is between the tackles as he moves very well through trash at the line of scrimmage. His penetrating style and footballs smarts make him a load for offensive lineman to handle.
Sounds like a can't miss defensive line prospect doesn't it? For Washington to move to the next level in 2008 Elisara needs to start living up to that hype. We all know one thing, lack of effort won' be the problem for this kid. I think the thing that will make the difference this season for Cameron will be game day experience, and I predict that we will really see him grow over the first three weeks of the season.