116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Coe’s Cam Elam plays fast and hard.
Those are two traits that have endeared the senior to Kohawks Coach Tyler Staker and served him well as a 5-foot-11, 240-pound defensive tackle.
“His motor is phenomenal,” Staker said. “He always has his foot on the gas. He’s a little undersized for defensive linemen but he’s a high-motor guy, who plays with a ton of energy. He makes a lot of plays.
“He’s always been that way,”
Elam is coming off his best game of the season, tallying seven tackles with 3.5 for loss, two sacks, a pass breakup and forced fumble in a 27-20 victory over Loras. He will attempt to continue the product Saturday against Luther at Clark Field.
He is unfazed, trying to control the line of scrimmage and battling in the trenches with bigger, beefier offensive linemen. Interestingly, Elam was bigger than most middle school athletes when he started to play and like football.
“I’ve always had the mentality of work harder than everyone else out there and how big you are isn’t going to matter,” Elam said. “That was taught to me from a young age by different football coaches.
“For me, it’s just having the work ethic and mindset of being the best. I’m not saying I’m the best. I’m just saying that is the mindset you need to have to go out and work every day.”
Elam grew up the youngest of three brothers. He had to adopt the resolve to survive and try to keep up with them. Elam has maintained it and it has served him well.
“I was competing with them all the time,” Elam said. “As the youngest, you try to beat your older brothers. It just doesn’t work out but I think that taught me to keep working and never give up.
“Just have that motor, drive and willingness to compete and do my best to beat the guy across from me motivates me.”
Elam realized he had a knack for the game when he entered high school. He played for Tri-Valley High School in Downs, Ill., where he developed into a high-caliber player and brought his intangibles to Coe.
“He knows what it takes to win and be a winner,” Staker said. “He carried that over into our program as well.”
Elam has 12 solo tackles and seven for loss. He has four total sacks and has forced a turnover. Staker complimented Elam on his four-tackle, two-sack performance against Hope (Mich.) College in early September.
“One of the advantages for Cam is his speed,” Staker said. “He is very quick to get off the ball, so it creates some problems for offensive linemen trying to handle his explosiveness.
“You don’t get too many defensive linemen that have the speed and quickness he has. He does a really good job of working an edge and getting a step on an offensive lineman.”
This season hasn’t been smooth. Elam has battled some adversity but that hasn’t idled him. He missed the opener against Cornell due to COVID. Elam is currently playing with a padded cast due to a broken finger.
“It’s day by day,” Elam said. “For me, this is most likely going to be my last year playing football, so it’s just trying to get the most out of it, even with injuries and setbacks.”
“It’s just trying to keep moving forward. Keep enjoying the time I have left. I love being out there with my guys and doing my thing.”
Coe has four games left, starting with the Norse. Elam is focused on having fun, soaking in each moment with his teammates and being his best when it comes to a close.
He takes gratification being a part of the defensive front, which has been a strength for Coe.
“We talk a lot about how it is one of the grittier positions on the field,” said Elam, praising the leadership of Cedric Nah and Alex Aitchison. “Working with those guys is an extra motivator because they work so hard.
“I take a lot of pride being on the defensive line, especially with the great defensive line we have this year.”