Minnesota A to Z: De'Vondre Campbell

The Gophers senior linebacker De'Vondre Campbell was one of the most hyped players coming out of junior college in the last decade for Minnesota as he chose a 6-win Gopher team over a perennial powerhouse in Texas, an SEC school in Tennessee and an eleven win Kansas State team who played in the Fiesta Bowl that season.

The Gophers senior linebacker De'Vondre Campbell was one of the most hyped players coming out of junior college in the last decade for Minnesota as he chose a 6-win Gopher team over a perennial powerhouse in Texas, an SEC school in Tennessee and an eleven win Kansas State team who played in the Fiesta Bowl that season.

With his senior season approaching, Gopher Digest continues our MN A-to-Z series with a look at Campbell's hope to follow in his teammate Damien Wilson's footsteps from last season and become Minnesota's tackles leader, before he heads to the NFL next spring.

Best-Case Scenario:
Campbell continues to develop his mental side of the game and becomes one of the best linebackers in the Big Ten. There is no reason that this scenario shouldn't be the one Gopher fans see this fall as it'll be Campbell's third year in defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys' system and he has yet another off-season to put just a little more weight onto that huge frame.

He has the size and speed to do a lot of damage rushing off the edge, which I think may be his role when he transitions to the NFL next spring. For the Gophers though, Campbell should be an every down player that contends to be the stat leader in tackles and tackles for loss.

Worst-Case Scenario
Campbell has trouble this fall shedding blocks and with play recognition and eventually becomes a rotational player with sophomore Jonathan Celestin. Celestin has proved that he belongs at the Big Ten level after his play last fall and he took another step forward this spring. He's been the main guy pushing Campbell and his play may be a reason that Campbell may see less snaps this fall.

Should Campbell's mental development with his football IQ fall behind where he is athletically, Celestin could grab more of his snaps.

Career comparison
When looking through the history of Gopher linebackers in the last 15 years, there's no true comparison to Campbell that will give him justice. Fact of the matter is, there hasn't been a guy like Campbell with his combination of size, speed and athleticism in a Gopher uniform. Since he signed the dotted line to come to Minnesota, fans have been wondering how long he'd stay as he'll be an NFL guy next spring. There aren't many guys around America who look and run like Campbell, and Gopher fans come this season is one to remember for the senior backer.

Development Vs. Recruiting Ranking
Campbell was a highly recruited three-star coming out of high school as he chose the Gophers over Texas, Tennessee and Kansas State, all of which he was committed to at one time.

The JUCO outside linebacker is one of Kill's best recruiting wins as he beat out some big-time schools to land Campbell services. His development is right on track for where he should be after starting every game last season as a junior, Campbell should take another step forward this fall to out play his three-star status and be a very interesting prospect to watch next spring when preparing for the NFL draft.

Best Game
Unfortunately it came in a loss against Illinois last season, but Campbell had a great individual performance. The Florida native notched 11 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack, so the light definitely came on that game for Campbell, unfortunately it wasn't enough for the Gophers to get the victory.

Quote to note
"The more he plays, the better he's going to get," Gophers coach Jerry Kill said. "I think he's gotten better every week. He'll be a force to be reckoned with next year; there's no question about that. You can't recruit length and speed like that."
- Gophers head coach Jerry Kill

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