Santa Maria Sun / Athlete of the Week
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 28
Athlete of the Week: Cameron Artis-Payne
BY JEREMY THOMAS
Allan Hancock College’s Cameron Artis-Payne has just one word to describe his game: physical.
The stellar sophomore running back exhibited his breakout ability on Sept. 8, tearing up highly ranked El Camino College for 232 yards on 22 carries, and scoring three touchdowns.
The performance could be just a glimpse of what Bulldog fans can expect all season long. As a freshman, Artis-Payne ripped up defenses for 1,380 yards and 19 touchdowns, winning first team All-State and All-Conference awards. In the offseason, he worked out tirelessly with Hancock coaches to lose 15 pounds and build muscle. He comes into 2012 leaner and meaner, meaning bad news for opponents.
“I feel like I got a lot faster, but the thing that’s helping me a lot this year in my eyes is the offensive line,” Artis-Payne said. “They’ve improved a lot, and coach is working with them nonstop, and they open up a lot of holes for me to get where I’ve got to go.”
Following the lead of a high school teammate, Artis-Payne came to Santa Maria from Harrisburg, Penn. Right away, game film of his prep days wowed Hancock head coach Kris Dutra. Once his young back got in shape, Dutra said, it didn’t take long for “The Prodigy” to truly arrive.
“He’s a very physical runner,” Dutra explained. “I think he runs the ball the way it’s supposed to be run; he doesn’t mess around. He sees the hole, and he goes hard.”
As good as he was as a freshman, Dutra said, Artis-Payne is even better this year. The offers from Division-I colleges are piling up, Dutra said, and before Artis-Payne’s time at Hancock is up, he could break a few school rushing records.
“He’s a special player,” Dutra said. “I don’t think you see guys like him very often, and we’re fortunate to have him. He’s bought into the program, and he’s working hard.”
But before taking his next step, Artis-Payne said he has some unfinished business he’d like to take care of at Hancock: winning it all.
“The coaching staff is really knowledgeable, and they’re helping me work on the things I need to improve in my game to be effective at the next level,” he said. “We’ve got a good team this year. I’m excited.”