Nov. 14, 2005
What you see is what you get. That statement is only half true when it comes to senior defensive end Kamerion Wimbley.
Who he is as a football player is pretty obvious. He’s focused, aggressive, hard-working and a relentless defender. He uses every bit of his 6-foot-4, 255-pound frame to get to the opponent’s quarter-back and has had success this season in doing just that. Among the 2005 ACC leaders in sacks, Wimbley is having his most successful season and now ranks among Florida State’s all-time top 15 in tackles for loss.
Who he is as a man, however, goes so much deeper. A physical presence with his size and strength, Wimbley off the field, is nowhere near the imposing football player we see on the field each Saturday.
He has a gentle personality and is friendly, conscientious, caring and devoted to those who know him. Convincing people of that fact when they first see him, however, is not an easy task.
“When people see me initially, like around campus, a lot of them think I look mean, never smiling, and then when they get to know me, they say I am totally different than they thought,” Wimbley said.
When you meet Wimbley, the first thing you notice is that he speaks slowly, carefully choosing what he says and how he says it.
“I choose my words wisely around certain people, until I get to know them, and then I’m kind of silly,” Wimbley said.
“People who are around me enough know that I’m really goofy but if I don’t know you, I kind of keep to myself and answer questions with the least amount of words.”
Once you get to know him, you realize how special and impressive of a person he is. He has a maturity beyond his years and has his priorities in order. A 2005 team captain, Wimbley, from an early age was targeted as a leader and although he’s quiet, he’s found a way to make a difference while learning a lot.
Over the years, he has realized that he can be a leader not just by what he says and what he does, but how he listens.
“People say I’m mature,” Wimbley said. “On my football teams coming up, I was always the leader on the team. My coaches were always telling me that the players on the team looked up to me and that I couldn’t do the things that every-body else was doing.
“The way I lead is a little bit different than most people. Coaches want me to be more vocal and I think I’ve improved on that, but it’s kind of hard. You don’t want to seem like you’re an authority figure to your teammates, but they’ll come up and ask me for advice.
“Over the years, when players would ask me what I thought about things, I would try not to be judgmental. I really like to listen. Some of the things that players on my teams, throughout the
years, have gone through, I’ve learned a lot from them.
“There are players on our team that come to me whenever they’re wondering about something or want someone to bounce something off of, or just need someone to listen, without being silly. I
can be serious when it’s time to be serious.
I like having conversations with people that are stimulating and are of substance and hopefully it’s a conversation that can help them improve on being a better person and help me at the same time.”
Helping people is something that is important to Wimbley.
“My major is social work and it’s pretty interesting to me,” Wimbley said. “I like to learn about people’s behavior. I have a heart for people, especially kids. I like to help out kids in situations where they haven’t had as many opportunities as most people have had. They usually end up in trouble, so those are the kids I focus on.”
Wimbley began playing football in the third grade and even then, he was taught to play hard and aggressively. He also learned at a young age to channel his aggressiveness to the field and only to the field.
“You can really be a boy with football,” Wimbley said. “On the field, you can be as competitive as you want to be and it’s encouraged. There are plusses for being competitive and aggressive. At Florida State, you get tomahawks. I look at it like soldiers when they get their medals of honor. I try to get as many as I can.
“I don’t really get upset unless something in football gets me upset. Say in a game or in practice. Once I leave the field, I’m fine. On the field in a game situation, people are often surprised about how excited I am. I guess my character off the field is mellow. That’s how I would describe myself. I really don’t get too excited about much.
“When I’m on the field, it’s my form of getting out all of the stuff that I’ve pretty much held in throughout the week. It’s my form of sublimation.”
Playing behind players like Chauncey Davis and Eric Moore, two players currently on NFL rosters, meant Wimbley had to wait his turn to shine at Florida State. Sure, he wanted to play
right away, but he knew as long as he continued to work hard, he’d get his chance.
“Before I came in, I looked at the roster and figured I’d at least be starting my junior year,” Wimbley said. “Then Chauncey Davis came in from JUCO and Eric Moore came in and took a redshirt so they both started my sophomore and junior years.
“But I’m a team player. I thought to myself, they’re seniors; they’ve paid their dues and have earned the right to be starters. I was fine as long as the team was doing well and I could help
out on special teams and contribute in some way.
“You would like to start but I took the opportunity to try to learn about the position from them because they were in front of me. I was also in the rotation a lot. It didn’t matter to me that
my name wasn’t on the scoreboard at the beginning of the game. I really just wanted to play.”
Now in his senior season, Wimbley is having the kind of season players dream about.
“You always plan to have a big year, but when it actually happens, it’s kind of like a dream,” Wimbley said. “This is what I’ve always wanted to do since I was a kid and then to have the
opportunity to actually do it, it is such a privilege.
“There are probably 100 or more kids who would love to be here at Florida State in my position, being a starter and a captain. It’s a nice feeling to make people back in my hometown of Wichita proud. We had Barry Sanders but not too many people after him. That was always my goal was to be the next big thing to come out of Kansas.”
By Tina Thomas FSU Sports Information