Back in 2012, Cam Keizur wasn't really recruited to play college football. He hailed from West Linn, Oregon — just south of Portland — and decided to walk on at Portland State. The Vikings coaching staff liked him and took a shot on him.
Five years later, he's finally finding out what it's like to be recruited — but this time around it's by professional scouts. The Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets and Houston Texas are the most frequent ones talking to the standout offensive guard/center prospect for the Vikings. He's a four-year starter who improved his draft stock at his Pro Day by benching 225 pounds 29 times — one of the top marks in the FCS. He also showed his athleticism by scooting in his 6-foot-3, 303-pound pound body at a 5.1-second pace in the 40-yard dash — but it was his 35.5-inch vertical that blew away the field. If Keizur had been invited to the NFL Combine, he would have led all offensive linemen there at 35.5.
NFL.com's Chad Reuter summed it up: "Keizur … is a small-school player who made some money at his Pro Day."
"I knew I could play somewhere, and obviously my family knew I could play, but really it's about what you do when you get into that program," Keizur told HERO Sports. "I always had that mentality wherever I go, that I just need to prove myself. Obviously the scholarship offers weren't rolling in, but obviously it was going to be more about what I did when I was there."
In 2012, he redshirted and worked on learning the position and improving in the weight room. By 2013, he was a redshirt freshman starter on the line, at the top of the depth chart for 7 of the 11 games at right guard. By his junior season, he proved his versatility by starting the final third of the season at center. So he goes into the NFL Draft with the rubber stamp of "versatile" on his college resume — something that can come in handy when trying to hold on to one of those 53 roster spots.
Keizur has several people to lean on. Last year, Patrick Onwuasor was a key contributor for the Ravens, racking up 21 tackles as a rookie free agent. Also, former PSU lineman Cornelius Edison played with the Chicago Bears last year and has been a great contact to get advice from for Keizur. As for April 24, NFL.com had Keizur going in the 7th round, and NFLDraftScout.com has Keizur going anywhere from the 6th round to being a high priority free agent.
He'll join his friends soon, it's just a matter of what method. Once there, he'll listen to the advice of his former college teammates.
"(Onwuasor) killed it on special teams last year and worked his way into the rotation, and I've always talked with Cornelius because we were pretty close when he played here (2014 and before)," Keizur said. "He believes in me too. It's good hearing positive stuff like that, that he thinks I can compete in the NFL. It definitely gives you confidence. They of course mostly just say it's a different level of speed. So getting adjusted to that is key."
"I think you've just got to put your head down and grind every day and believe in yourself, because a lot of times people won't believe in you."
From walk-on to an NFL contract next week. Not bad.