SNELLVILLE - Cameron Whigham put on football pads for the first time in a month this week.
He loves putting on pads.
"It's pretty nice (to put pads on)," he said at Brookwood on Tuesday during practice for this week's Rivalries of Gwinnett All-Star game.
He hates how long it had been between his opportunities. He hates it because he misses playing and he hates it because of the way his senior season ended.
"I was pretty much disappointed (in the end of the season)," Whigham said. "I thought we had a good team at the beginning of the season and we just had some let downs. We could have been a lot better than we were."
Shiloh was better than it had been. The Generals doubled their win total from two to four, including a late-season win over Dacula that kept the playoff hopes alive for Shiloh. But losses in its final two games ended the hope.
"It was more fun than last year, but it wasn't what I wanted it to be," Whigham said. "I wanted to go to the playoffs and have a run at the state title.
"That is why I was excited for the all-star game."
He's excited to play football. He loves it enough to stop playing basketball for Shiloh to focus on football. He played the first few weeks of the season.
"I let basketball go to focus on football," Whigham said. "I wanted this (all-star game) to be my last high school game."
But Saturday won't be his final football game.
Whigham is committed to Ole Miss, a choice he made based on the coaching staff and success. He has yet to visit the campus. He plans to take his official visit in January.
"I liked the fact that they were winning and beating other teams that were recruiting me," said Whigham, who had interest from Auburn, Georgia Tech and Central Florida among others. "I thought Ole Miss would be a good choice."
Interest in Whigham, a 6-3, 235-pound defensive end who also played some tight end, ballooned during a senior season that saw him lead Shiloh with 79 tackles and seven sacks. He did it all with every team ready to stop or avoid him.
"He makes a lot of plays sometimes on the backside, downfield," Shiloh head coach Keith Wilkes said. "To see a defensive lineman do that is pretty good. The ball would be on the other side and downfield, and you'd look up and see it would be Cameron on the tackle."
Whigham's relentlessness on the field mirrors his off field work, especially this past offseason under Wilkes and his new staff. Both in the weight room and on the practice field.
"I was pretty much able to do whatever I wanted. I worked hard in the weight room and I pretty much did what I wanted.
"(Wilkes) had more techniques to teach us, more defensive strategy to teach us. I learned a lot.
"He taught me how to be a better pass rusher."
His strength and persistence helped.
"I got stronger in the offseason going into this year," Whigham said. "Last year, I really couldn't do as much as I did this year because I lifted. Sometimes I got drove off the ball last year. This year I could fight it."
If that fight continues, Wilkes is certain Whigham's best pass rushing is still to come.
"He's an outstanding football talent, but he's an untapped talent," Wilkes said. "His best football is ahead of him. He is a tough kid with a lot of speed and agility. He is the prototype defensive end people are looking for."
What: Rivalries of Gwinnett All-Star Game
When: Saturday, 2 p.m.
Where: Brookwood High School
Coaches: Former Shiloh head coach Charlie Jordan will coach the East team, which consists of Region 8-AAAAA. Former Dacula and Duluth head coach Mike Strickland will coach the West team, which features Region
7-AAAAA, Buford, GAC and Wesleyan