In Texas, you have more talent than you can name, point at or even list. They are everywhere. It's like an ant-farm there are so many quality players in Texas. How do you stand out? You have to be good. Real good. Enter one Jeremy Campbell that's doing his best to make sure that he does just that.
First of all, this is a linebacker that just has some very ideal measureables. 6'2", a reported 220 lbs. and at a Texas camp (ironically enough), Jeremy ran his best forty time of 4.65. So much potential, it's not surprising the Horns offered him, nor is it surprising that schools like Nebraska, Texas A&M and Kansas State just had to follow suit.
It's not just physical attributes though that make Campbell attractive to recruiters, it's his mental approach to the game. Let's just say it's, intense. "All I'm thinking when I hit someone is how hard I can hit him without getting in trouble afterwards." Jeremy said. "I just want to blow through him I guess."
Blow through him, blow him up or blowing the guy right off the field, it all works for someone that is ready to hit you anyway that knocks you into next Tuesday. What also works is being tough. Tough enough that you as a linebacker actually enjoy living in the trenches amongst the giants attempting to stuff the run. That's something Campbell finds the most exciting part of his game. "You have to be aggressive when you are around those big guys." Jeremy said. "Dip and Rip as my coach says. Just get in there and get busy."
You want busy? Ask Jeremy's mailman, because he's busy every single day filling Campbell's mailbox to the rim. Offers, letters and interest galore, Jeremy is seeing attention from those schools mentioned above plus Arkansas, Michigan State and Maryland just to name a few more.
A lot of schools, a lot of choices and for Jeremy, it's going to take a lot of time to not just make a decision, but to figure out enough about each school to figure out which one fits what he wants the most. "I'm not thinking about it too much right now, because there's just a lot I want to see and I want to look around and check them all out before I make any decision."
Jeremy does have an idea of a few schools he would like to see though. "I would like to take a trip (official) up to Nebraska, Michigan State and maybe Tennessee." he said.
There is one slight consideration about those schools however and it has to do with cold. No, Jeremy doesn't mind the cold, just so long as it's not real, real cold. "I just can't afford to go out and buy a Husky, so I don't want it too cold." Jeremy said laughing.
Ok, so out of Campbell's goals, we can scratch any of them that have to do with purchasing sled dogs. Well, North Dakota is out.
There are other goals for him, the kind that you would expect and yes, the kind you would hope as everyone likes players that have big numbers in mind, but they like even more those that have the big picture in their head first and foremost. "What I want to do this year is anything I can do to help my team get to the state finals." Jeremy said. "I like the team we have and I think we can do better than we have ever done."
There's no doubt that Jeremy will add to a team that should be one of the favorites in 5A this year, but his teammate and best friend, DT, Franklin Okam is certainly another. The second ranked defensive tackle in the country isn't just his teammate and friend, but as Jeremy said, will probably be a partner as they plan on visiting some of the teams they are interested in, together.
That's not to say they plan on going to the same school, but yes, Jeremy says they have thought about it. "Yeah, we've talked some about playing at the same school, but if we don't, even better, because that means we can play against each other."
You might find that strange, but players like Campbell aren't rare at all. The better the competition, the better they like it and though they wouldn't be facing each other directly, just the idea of going head-to-head in some way, Jeremy likes that. He definitely likes it right now as Franklin tests him to his limits. "In practice, I just have to take it to him." Jeremy said of when he is playing running back. "I know he isn't going to let it go, so I have to just go at him."
That's something that most wouldn't want to do as Jeremy admits that even he is often amazed at the ability of his practice-time counterpart. "I can't believe how fast he is." Campbell said of Okam. "Nobody that big should be that fast, but I have raced him and have barely beaten him."
Well, though we could probably write a novel on the practice-exploits of these two and the fun of watching their head-to-head battles, what's important right now are the other teams, the college ones of course.
The time-line on visits isn't set, thus the decision isn't set, but if you want to take anything from Okam as to when these visits might take place, maybe one or two during the season and the rest, afterwards.
Just a note on Jeremy that I feel obligated to state. This young man is about as analytical about the game as you can get. He takes a very precise look at how things play out, inside and out, front to back. Though I didn't ask him and this is only speculation, I find him to be easily the film-junkie sort that just can't get enough of learning about the game. Just a very, very bright young man. His mentality out there may be physical and aggressive, but I have no doubt that he's analyzing everything as it goes and we'll be following him pretty closely all year long.
Steve Ryan can be reached at email@example.com 402-730-5619
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