Corvallis, Ore. – He’s yet to start a game since arriving on campus in the fall of 1998, but he’s on target to be on the field the first snap of this August’s season opener. He’s been a backup to some of Oregon State’s top defensive backs in school history and has played in 35 games.
He’s senior left cornerback Shamon Jamerson from Compton, Cal. Jamerson is battling to keep his starting position from a host of challengers. The 5-foot-11 speech communication major had 17 tackles last season and recovered one fumble. He also has experience playing in postseason games, with appearances in the Oahu and Insight Bowls.
Jamerson attended Palisades High School as a senior and Hamilton High School as a sophomore and junior. He played defensive back and wide receiver as a prep and was the defensive Player of the Year as a junior and senior in the Coastal Conference’s Western Division.
The following is a question and answer with Shamon after a recent spring practice:
Q. Do you feel there is pressure on you this year as one of the more experienced players in the secondary?
A. “A little pressure, but I think I’m well prepared and ready for the challenge.”
Q. Did you approach this spring any differently knowing guys like Dennis Weathersby, Calvin Carlyle, and Terrell Roberts are no longer here?
A. “I have always approached the spring with a great deal of urgency, but I can’t lie, I worked out a little harder during the winter and watched more video.”
Q. The program lost some very good defensive players, do you think this unit can be as good as it has been the last several years?
A. “I really think we will be as good. We have a lot of guys who are ready to fill the shoes of those who have graduated. We have hungry players who are prepared to prove themselves. I think we’ll be just as good or better than we have in the past.”
Q. You are practicing against the likes of Kenny Farley, Jayson Boyd, and James Newson – all taller than you – how much of a disadvantage is that for you?
A. “It’s not a disadvantage at all. Competing against those guys helps me prepare for what it will be like once we get into our schedule. All of those guys are different; James Newson is very physical, while Jayson Boyd and Kenny Farley are speed guys. The defensive backs see a lot of different looks just in practice, so that is bound to make us more prepared for game action.”
Q. Has the transition to a new coaching staff been difficult?
A. “Actually, it has been a plus for me. I learned a lot under Coach Erickson and his style, and now I’m working under a new philosophy with Coach Riley. My game has improved and will continue to improve because I have learned different ways to approach certain situations, and I can take from those experiences to make me more of a complete player.”
Q. Corvallis is vastly different from your home in inner-city Los Angeles, but now that you have been here going on five years, what are your thoughts of OSU and the area?
A. “Corvallis has been a great experience for me, I have grown as a person. The diversity has made me more of complete person and I think that will help me be successful in the business world after football. I would still like to play football for a couple more of years, but I think my experience at OSU has prepared me for life after the game.”
Q. What do you want to do with your degree in speech communications?
A. “I want to stay involved in sports. I have thought about becoming a sports agent.”