Terps Looking Good to Local Super-Soph

Howard County has not traditionally been known for producing top football talent, but there's a budding star at River Hill in the form of speedster Michael Campanaro. The bad news is, many top programs are already hot on the trail of the 5-foot-10, 180-pound playmaker. The good news: he grew up a Maryland fan and would love to stay close to home.

"I've always been a Terp fan. I've gone to a lot of the games and have been going to the camps since I was really young," said Campanaro, a rising junior who was one of the biggest surprises of last season in Washington-area football.

"It would be really nice to play there and have all of my friends and family come and see all of my games."

Last year, Campanaro carried 120 times for 1044 yards and seven touchdowns and caught 26 passes for 601 yards and eight touchdowns – a gaudy 8.7 yards per carry and 23.1 yards per reception. He also added 66 tackles and three interceptions on defense. In the state championship game against an absolutely loaded Friendly team, he rushed for 135 yards and a touchdown while holding his own on defense against receiver Vincent Hill, the leading touchdown pass-catcher in state history.

Not too shabby for a sophomore.

Campanaro continued his momentum all the way through the spring and summer. Encouraged by his father – River Hill's J.V. coach – to get an early start on recruiting, he visited camps at Maryland, Notre Dame, Illinois, Akron, Northwestern, Pittsburgh and Boston College, and consistently posted 40-yard dash times in the 4.35 range.

"It seems like I'm kind of stuck in that [mid] 4.3 range," he said, adding that he's been trying to trim his times even farther. "It was fun. I started off at Akron a little [unsure of what to expect] but then I got a lot more comfortable."

He's also been working out twice a week with trainer Joe Haden, whose sons Joe Haden III and Josh Haden have starred at Friendly the past few years and who trains many of the areas best young prospects. Campanaro became friendly with the Hadens as well as Terp target Lamaar Thomas after the state title game and has stayed in touch with them.

"I've become friends with a lot of kids over there," he said.

Northwestern and Akron have already verbally offered Campanaro. Illinois and Pitt have promised him he'll be neat the top of the list when written offers can go out to juniors Sept. 1. Notre Dame seems to be quite interested, and Maryland has given him the impression a formal offer could be on the way Sept. 1 as well.

"I've talked with coach Sollazzo a lot, and with coach Friedgen, and it seems like they are trying to do it the right way. They told me I had a real chance to [get an offer] on September first," he said.

There's no questioning Campanaro's abilities, but is remains unclear where he'll play in college. He'd prefer to be on the offensive side, getting the ball in his hands with a chance to make plays. He's heard frequent comparisons to former Terps speedster Steve Suter, and it's one that he embraces. Most schools are recruiting him simply as an athlete as this point.

"Coach Sollazzo likes me a lot at D.B. Coach Zaccarias, the running backs coach, wants me to play running back. I also worked out with the wide receivers coach," he said.

Campanaro would like to end his recruitment early, perhaps next spring or early summer. There will be plenty of competition for his commitment, but Maryland seems to be in good shape.

"I'd really like to stay local at Maryland and I definitely see myself on the East Coast," he said. "Staying at home, that's always been my priority."

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