Campbell Looking to Contribute at DE

Calais Campbell is a 6-foot-8 defensive end from Denver who redshirted last season. He has added weight and is stronger than when he first arrived on campus to help prepare him for the 2005 season.

Calais Campbell arrived on campus at a lean 230 pounds. It was clear to see that he needed to add weight and made a comment addressing his weight to the media on the first day freshmen reported to campus.

Last year was tough for Campbell who, like 13 of his incoming class, redshirted.

"I knew I would probably be redshirted," Campbell said. "It was tough, but now I know the program and the plays. I also got a lot stronger and I feel a lot more comfortable out there."

It is generally tough for players to gain weight throughout the season. They generally wait until after the season is over as they get into their off-season weight training and conditioning program. But Campbell didn't want to wait for the off-season.

"As the season went on I felt like I got a lot stronger," Campbell said. "I was lifting weights and began eating right. The weight naturally came on."

Right now Campbell weighs 255 pounds and is looking to be in the 260-265 range for next season.

While on the scout team last year Campbell earned praise for this freakish ability at a rare size. He looks more like a forward on the basketball team than a defensive end. While on the scout team he was able to learn more about the game.

"Last year went pretty well on the scout team," Campbell said. "I improved my technique and I got used to the speed. It is a lot different from high school. Everyone is a lot stronger and faster."

Campbell played tight end at South High School where he caught 38 passes for 412 yards and four touchdowns during his senior season. But he wanted to play defensive end at Miami. While at defensive end he started all four years and set the state record with 57 career sacks.

"I want to play defensive end," Campbell said. "I was thinking about tight end, but I like tackling and have played defensive end all throughout my career."

Campbell's close friend on the team, Chris Zellner, spent his first season as a Hurricane as a defensive end, but this spring he has moved to tight end.

"We go over each other and do drills to make sure we are improving," Campbell said. "After practice we will do extra drills too."

When the two are not on the field they are hitting up various restaurants or just hanging out.

"After classes we would go out to dinner a lot," Campbell said. "When we are at home we will just relax."

Campbell, Zellner, and Chris Rutledge have a friendly competition with video games as well.

"We always have video game wars and challenge each other," Campbell said.

So who wins these challenges?

"Everyone has their runs of wins," Campbell said smiling.

Spring practices resume on March 22 and Campbell, who plays both end positons, is looking to get as many repititions as he can get.

"I have a chance to go up against all of those offensive line guys and see what I can do," Campbell said. "I am trying to get as many reps as I can. I'm working hard to improve on my pass rush."

Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com

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