When Darwin Franklin took over as the new head football coach at Millwood in May, he began to observe his players.
He was trying to identify his most talented athletes, his strongest leaders, his hardest workers.
And in every category, he kept finding Cameron Batson.
The 5-foot-8, 165-pound senior quickly established himself as a player the new coach could lean on.
“The thing that stands out more than the player is the person Cameron is,” said Franklin, the son of legendary Millwood basketball coach Varryl Franklin. “There's a lot of athletes you'll come across, but his character, his attention to detail are amazing.
“He loves discipline, and that's a quality that is strange to see in young men, somebody that wants discipline, wants consistency, wants to do things the right way. It was a breath of fresh air to come in and know one of your seniors has that vision, that drive you want your players to have.”
Texas Tech saw many of the same qualities in Batson, along with his incredible abilities with the ball in his hands, which is why the Red Raiders offered Batson a scholarship in the spring.
Batson, rated No. 14 on The Oklahoman's Super 30 recruit rankings for the class of 2014, accepted after making a visit to the campus to become the first of three Oklahoma high school players to verbally commit to Texas Tech in the last three months.
The Red Raiders like Batson as a receiver, a position where he has started the last three years for Millwood — but not a fourth. Batson will move to quarterback for his senior year, a position he grew up playing.
“It'll be a crazy season,” Batson said with a laugh. “I feel like I'm able to read defenses better than a lot of high school quarterbacks. Starting since I was a freshman, I've learned a lot about defenses, and it helps me know where my receivers are gonna be, where to throw the ball and seeing different types of coverages.”
Franklin is most excited about having such a natural leader calling signals for his offense.
“He's vocal, but he leads by example also,” Franklin said. “He's not one that'll bark and want everybody to jump on board, but won't do it himself. It makes it a whole lot easier for guys to follow when they know he's gonna be right there with them.”
Batson is spending part of his summer organizing workouts with his Millwood teammates with hopes of helping the Falcons get back to playing for state titles. But he has a real job, too. Batson works in a mentor program at the OU Health Sciences Center, a program he previously attended as a young boy.
“They knew I was good at math and science, so they asked me if I wanted to work there,” Batson said. “So I help the kids with math and science as a mentor. They're not troubled kids, but as you work with them, you learn different things they're going through that you went through as a child. So you can give them advice and help them.
“I really want to give back to the community, especially after college. That's something that's really important to me, to help kids.”
The Oklahoman's Super 30
No. 14: Cameron Batson
Weight: 165 pounds
Committed to: Texas Tech