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Football, finance: How Cam Peoples is making a difference

Courtesy of Andy McLean, App State Athletics
Cam Peoples celebrates in the endzone after scoring against Miami Sept. 11, 2021. Peoples ran for 95 yards and one touchdown against the Hurricanes.

With summer approaching and the collegiate sports season nearing an end, senior App State athletes will walk across the graduation stage with diplomas in-hand, wondering what the future holds for them. A former Mountaineer running back is an example of how the journey after graduation for college athletes is an uphill climb to the mountain top. 

Cam Peoples, a Bachelor of Science in Recreation Management spring 2022 graduate has made an impact off the field as a financial representative, while continuing his football career at the professional football level. 

“I’m definitely gonna take on the task of doing both,” Peoples said about his plan for the present and future. “I already know what I’m gonna do next and I know what I’m doing now.”

Since last suiting up for the Black and Gold in 2022 and finishing a 2,830 rushing yard and 33 touchdown collegiate career, Peoples declared for the NFL Draft and signed with the Carolina Panthers after the draft. He received the call from former Panthers running backs coach Duce Staley, getting the opportunity to remain in the Carolinas after a five-year App State career. 

“He lets me know that they wanted me to come play for him, and I was all for it,” Peoples said.

Following the agreement, Peoples participated in a rookie mini-camp before the start of organized team activities. Once OTA’s began, Peoples connected and competed alongside fellow Panthers running backs Miles Sanders, Chuba Hubbard, Raheem Blackshear and Spencer Brown.

After OTA’s, the off-season grind continued as Peoples trained with rookie quarterback Bryce Young in Texas before the two-week long NFL training camp in Spartanburg, South Carolina at the beginning of August. 

“He’s a big, strong guy,” said former Panthers head coach Frank Reich. “I want to see him with the pads on, and see if he can do any damage. I’m looking forward to that.”

At the end of training camp, the three-week long NFL Preseason kicked off, but as each game passed, Peoples was not receiving much utilization, realizing the Panthers were going to go in a different direction. 

Carolina waived Peoples August 26, making him a free agent. After a couple of weeks, he conducted a workout with the Atlanta Falcons, but didn’t hear anything back. 

“It was a humbling experience, to say the least, but it was definitely well needed,” Peoples said.

Former Mountaineers running back Cam Peoples walks out onto the field prior to App State’s matchup against Elon Sept. 18, 2021. Peoples rushed for 80 yards and two touchdowns. (Max Correa)

While it wasn’t the outcome Peoples wanted, he and his agent formulated a game plan together for what was next. 

Throughout his time with the Panthers, Peoples met with financial advisors from March to July, and connected with Northwestern Mutual to learn how everything works and put together a plan. 

“Instead of starting with your finances, our advisors start with you designing your plan around your priorities to help you reach your goals while protecting everything you’ve worked so hard for,” stated Northwestern Mutual’s website.

After being waived, Peoples reconnected and was set up in Charlotte to go through the interview process, went through an MPA and attained other licenses to get started. 

“I’ve always been interested and fascinated with how money works, but also being able to help people is always a big thing of mine,” Peoples said.

Once he started, the day-to-day work included reaching out to people and forming connections on a personal level to not only discuss financials, but to “just talk.” When a day includes meetings, Peoples finds out their goals and plans accordingly to find what a client is looking for.

“It’s just a grind,” Peoples said. “It is almost like football.”

Peoples’ inspiration to become a financial advisor comes from knowing where he and the demographic came from to educate “ourselves” on money. 

“It’s just because they’re in an area where they’re financially secure, and they’re not afraid to expand their knowledge on money,” Peoples said. “A lot of people where I come from, and especially in the African American community, are afraid to open up about money.”

Stemming from the motivation of wanting to make it into the NFL and profit as a player, he’s aimed to provide for his family to be “the caveat that we never had.” His motive has always been to put his family, his people and his community in the best possible position. 

While Peoples discovered a passion off the field, he continues to pursue financial advising during and after his professional football career. One of his long-term goals is building a team around him and having his own firm to continue to help people understand how money should work and how it will benefit their entire family. 

In the meantime, Peoples continues advising while playing at the professional level as he signed with the Edmonton Elks for the upcoming summer CFL season.

“I’m looking forward to getting there,” Peoples said. “It really means just a new opportunity and a chance to keep playing the game that I love.”

Playing for the Elks will be Peoples’ first time out of the country as he’ll play all across Canada during the 21-week season.  

“I don’t think there’s a day since I’ve signed where I haven’t said the word Canada,” Peoples said.

Before signing with the Elks, Peoples trained alongside former Mountaineers running back Darrynton Evans. As the two still live in Charlotte, they’ve continued their lasting friendship that formed in Boone. Whether it’s telling stories, hanging out or training together, “football brings people together.”

In anticipation of the Elks training camp beginning May 12, Peoples will still meet with clients while studying to receive all of his investment licenses. He will also prepare physically and mentally, learning the Elks’ offense by connecting with coaches before heading to Edmonton. 

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About the Contributors
Chance Chamberlain
Chance Chamberlain, Associate Sports Editor
Chance Chamberlain (he/him) is a senior journalism major, media studies minor. This is his second year writing for The Appalachian.
Max Correa
Max Correa, Photojournalist
Max Correa (he/him) is a senior Biochemistry major from Black Mountain, NC.
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