Cameron Tom the "Center" of USM's Offense

Cameron Tom the "Center" of USM's Offense

HATTIESBURG, MS - "I was out in Eagle Walk and people were giving me high fives," said Southern Miss senior quarterback Nick Mullens following Saturday's win over Rice. "I said no, you need to know Cameron Tom. This guy's NFL bound, he's six-digit job bound. People need to know about those guys."

Quarterback Nick Mullens passionate after Saturday's win over Rice, saying the Southern Miss offensive lineman deserved just as much credit for his record 591 passing yards and the offense's 702.

In particular, Mullens wants you to know the importance of senior center Cameron Tom.

"Cam and Nick have been playing together for a long time so there's a lot of chemistry between those too," said Southern Miss head coach Jay Hopson. "They do a great job together."

"Probably the most important because everything we filter through the offensive line we go through him," said Southern Miss offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson. "So he does all the calls, switching the calls, getting us in the right protections, run game. I can't sit here and downplay the role he has on a play-to-play basis, not even just a week-to-week basis."

A model of consistency, Tom's start against Rice extended his team-high active streak to 40 games.

Besides his dependability on the field, Tom boasts a 3.8 GPA, helping him become a Campbell Trophy semifinalist which is given to the best football scholar-athlete in the nation.

"Cam is an extremely smart guy," said Southern Miss junior running back George Payne. "He's one of my good friends here. O-lineman don't get much credit but he's one of our key players on offense. Sometimes I don't know what to do, I just tap on him and say, 'Who do I block?' He's amazing."

"The mental approach to the game that we put on his plate is significant," Dawson said.

You're not going to see his name in the box score, he probably won't ever make Sportscenter's Top Plays. But what Tom and the rest of the Southern Miss offensive line does in the trenches is a big reason the Golden Eagles are 4-1.